Smart Growth & Equitable Development

Smart growth is linked to affordable housing shortages by critics because it increases housing values for minorities by restricting the available land, which does not account for discriminatory housing policies.  On the other hand, sprawl development exacerbates school crowding, heightens the disparities between urban and suburban schools, accelerates urban infrastructure decline, concentrates poverty, creates a spatial mismatch between urban workers and suburban job centers, intensifies racial disparities, and negatively impacts public health.  Other factors of noting are:

  • People of color make up a sizable share of the population in sprawl threatened cities. For example, the percent people of color in the Sierra Club’s (1998) “top fifteen” sprawled-threatened large cities include: Atlanta (68.9%), St. Louis (49.0%), Washington, DC (70.4%), Cincinnati (39.5%), Kansas City (33.1%), Denver (27.8%), Seattle (24.6%), Minneapolis (21.5%), St. Paul (17.6%), Ft. Lauderdale (30.4%), Chicago (54.5%), Detroit (78.4%), Baltimore (60.9%), Cleveland (50.4%), Tampa (29.0%), and Dallas (44.6%).