Monday, August 09, 2004

Washington Post on Sprawl

The Washington Post's Peter Whoriskey is doing a three part series on sprawl in the DC region.

The first part, "Space for Employers, Not for Homes," (Aug. 8, 2004, p. A1) addresses one of the problems with our fragmented system of governance in the US. Municipalities are interested in raising revenue in ways that do not require too much capital outlay. By encouraging business expansion and limiting residential development, a municipality can count on tax revenue, but doesn't have to worry about expenditures in the form of school funding, sewer expansion, etc...

Since it is to every individual municipality's advantage to act similarly, regionally there becomes a dearth of affordable housing--or, more precisely, a concentration of housing spatially segregated from places of employment requiring vast commute times.

The second story, "Washington's Road to Outward Growth," (Aug. 9, 2004, p. A1) talks about this latter trend in detail.

In conjunction with their series on sprawl, the Post also hosted a "Live Online" session with Gerrit Knapp from the University of Maryland. The session was only of marginal interest as Knapp gave only cursory responses to some of the very good questions. It would have been interesting to hear him expound a bit more.