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Urban Sprawl

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Sprawl is a single-use, low-density, disconnected approach to community design. By separating places where people live, work, and play and limiting direct connections between these activities, sprawl most often renders driving as the only rational travel option. Distances are often too vast, and walking is most often difficult, if not dangerous, in sprawl. Urban sprawl is associated with several adverse health outcomes, including less walking and overall physical activity, increased sedentary time, exposure to air pollution from automobiles, and increased rates of obesity.

Sprawl is one extreme of a continuum of approaches to land development and transportation investment that collectively determine the urban form of an area, which in turn influences the behavior of the residents—for instance, by making it easier or more difficult to include ...

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