By all accounts, urban sprawl is a problem that has plagued many metropolitan cities throughout the United States. Like many of these cities, Richmond, Virginia has struggled with the concept of how to control the growing population while still possessing the ability to attract new residents to the area.
Recently, many of the city’s efforts to change sprawl have focused on urban design or landscape architecture. These and other steps have lead to sustainable urban planning projects in neighborhoods like Carver, Oregon Hill, and Church Hill. But while many urban planners have expected these projects to change sprawl in Richmond, what they have done, in fact, is the opposite.
Thus, much of the city’s efforts have led to an increase in problems such as poor health, low household incomes, limited housing, educational inequalities, and poorly developed land.
But, while no one could ever be certain that contemporary plans like these will ever change sprawl in the city, what is certain is that there are other steps that could be taken to make Richmond communities more sustainable.
1. Develop better land-use planning programs in places where vacant lots and blighted buildings still exist;
2. Reduce car usage by creating more projects that encourage public transportation travel;
3. Collaborate regionally on community revitalization projects;
4. Develop more open space policies to protect valuable open space in neighborhoods like Rockets Landing;
5. Invest more into Smart Growth plans that will specifically combat sprawl in downtown communities;
6. Create more community action programs that will get Richmonders more involved in public projects;
7. Better educate the public by collaborating on projects with local universities and public schools;
Do you think sprawl is affecting your city?
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