The ubiquity of suburban sprawl has come to constitute a serious physical, intellectual and cultural problem of its own. Suburban sprawl fosters disinvestment in historic city centers; excessive separation of people by age, race and income; extreme inequality of educational opportunity; pollution and the loss of agricultural lands and wilderness; record rates of obesity; and sheer ugliness. The very physical structure of suburban sprawl makes it virtually impossible for people of different generations and different incomes to live in close proximity to one another -- and not only live close together but also work, shop, play, learn and worship in the same neighborhood." (2003)
Further, the dependency upon the automobile "effectively demobilizes and disenfranchises those without cars..." (Bess, 2003) Suburban sprawl consumes the land and is self-contradictory in its very nature. Sim Van der Ryn in Ecological Design (Island Press, 1995) wrote that: "In many ways the environmental crisis is a design crisis a consequence of how things are made, buildings are constructed, and landscapes are used." (Lynn, 1997) Sim Van der Ryn holds that decisions concerning city design have become "so severed from their ecological consequences" that over the past five decades: "we have reduced a complex and diverse landscape into an asphalt network stitched together from coast to coast out of a dozen or so crude design 'templates'" (as cited in Lynn, 1997)
V. City of the Future Compared to Original City Structure
Older, pre-automobile cities were inherently far more ecological, in more ways than are obvious. Compact and dense, they allowed for greater efficiency, better use of space, and more diverse housing types and income levels." (Lynn, 1997) Furthermore, these cities contained agricultural areas with a potential for growing foods locally for those living in the local area. The city of the future will be much the same as the cities of yesterday in terms of their density and will allow for the residents of the city to walk in gaining access for conduction of business, shopping, entertainment, recreation, exercise and other necessary functions of living. The work entitled: "12 Gates to the City" states that according to Fred Kent, director of the Project for Public Spaces, "we need to consider the ecologically sound aspects of density and street life. Many cities are learning that compactness promotes efficiency, creativity, and walking, and are working to revive old main streets and neighborhood centers." (Lynn, 1997)
Because of today's information technology it is possible that much of the world's business can be conducted on a 'virtual' basis which would allow for reduction of traffic due to the lessened need for automobiles in business functions. Out of necessity cities will develop local agricultural projects because the need to grow and feed the population of cities and urban areas locally is a given according to all the reports reviewed in the course of research. The work entitled: "12 Gates to the City" states that according to Fred Kent, director of the Project for Public Spaces, "we need to consider the ecologically sound aspects of density and street life. Many cities are learning that compactness promotes efficiency, creativity, and walking, and are working to revive old main streets and neighborhood centers." (Lynn, 1997)
While the specific designs of tomorrow's cities is uncertain there inherently will be renewed density in cities and more attention to planning and design than was given during the haphazard development of suburban areas, which has resulted in today's suburban sprawl.
Lynn, Francessa (1997) 12 Gates to the City. Sierra Magazine. May/June 1997. Online available at http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/199705/gates.asp
Bess, Philip (2003) the City and the Good Life. The Christian Century, April 19, 2003, pp. 20-23, & 26-29.
Kenworthy, Jeff (nd) the Death of the Walking City: Killing the Rights of Pedestrians. Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy. Online available at http://www.dpi.wa.gov.au/mediaFiles/walking_pedrights02paper_deathofcity.pdf.
Ecology of the Walking City (2003) Urban Ecology Series: No. 3 (2003). Online available at http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/urban/3/ue3-1.htm
Ellis, Cliff (nd) History of Cities and City Planning. Online available at http://www.art.net/~hopkins/Don/simcity/manual/history.html