is a term to describe a
particular type of housing that is rapidly constructed using modern
labour-saving techniques in a manner reminiscent of food production at
McDonald's fast food restaurants.
refers to a house with a larger footprint (> 280 m²) than a
median home and which is often located in a new urban development.
Often the house is built on a comparatively small lot in homogeneous
communities produced by a developer. Although generally large and
relatively expensive, McMansions are distinguished from "true" mansions
by the fact that they are mass produced and are not architecturally
The future of urban
the growth of suburban housing was based on cheap gas. The low price of
gas made sprawl economical.
A sharp and sustained rise in
gasoline prices could reverse current urbanisation trends
by making the private automobile and extensive commuting too expensive.
As the price per gallon of gasoline has gone up, housing prices have
fallen. Although housing prices are in decline almost everywhere, price
declines are generally far more severe in far-flung suburbs that
require lengthy commutes than near the centre of densely populated
cities. Living in exurban area influences the disposable income: in
exurban areas of Minnesota, families were spending almost a third of
their income on transportation while urban residents spent 20%. More
and more Americans are therefore looking for a place closer to live to
The number of miles travelled per person
each day rose for the last two decades, as the real cost of driving a
car declined. Lately, however, those trends reversed. The total number
of vehicle miles travelled in March 2008 was 4.3 % lower than the
urban sprawl through remote sensing
Urban sprawl results in more paved surfaces. Maps of these so-called
impervious surfaces derived from satellite images are now used to
capture new urban development and replace the more expensive and
time-consuming traditional aerial photography to provide urban planners
with a better understanding of city growth. By monitoring an area over
time, maps can show the progress of residential development.
Extent of impervious surfaces in and around Washington and Baltimore.
Red represents high concentrations of impervious surfaces. Blue
represents moderate concentrations and green represents low
concentrations of impervious surfaces. The base image was acquired by
NASA's Landsat satellite, while the map of impervious surfaces was
derived with data from both Landsat and IKONOS - Source: Earth Observatory
of urban sprawl
The term urban sprawl generally has
negative connotations due to social (lack of social mix), environmental
and even health (physical inactivity) issues that sprawl creates.
Most obvious is the consumption of precious
land and the loss of wildlife, but because sprawl supports and heavily
depends on automobile use, it is a major contributor to climate change
and air pollution. Sprawling communities also use excessive amounts of
energy for water and sewer services, distribute natural gas and
electricity over long distances, and require municipal services like
waste and recycling pick-up over large areas. This causes even more air
pollution, further deteriorating human and ecosystem health.