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New Report Assigns Sprawl Score for Nation’s Metros

Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America has released its first report on nationwide sprawl since 2002, Measuring Sprawl 2014 is an update on 2002’s Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact. The report analyzes development patterns in 221 metropolitan areas and 994 counties in the United States, using four primary factors—residential and employment density; neighborhood mix of homes, jobs and services; strength of activity centers and downtowns; and accessibility of the street network—to evaluate development in these areas and assign a Sprawl Index score to each.

Sprawl Index scores over 100 are more compact while those under 100 have more sprawl. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) with less than 200,000 people were not included in the study. In addition to measuring sprawl, the report looked at the impact communities’ sprawl index score had on life in that community. For example, the report looked at housing costs and predictably, compact communities had high housing costs, but with an increase in the Sprawl Index Score, the combined housing and transportation costs declined.

In an effort to curb sprawl, the report includes recommendations such as zoning for mixed use development, and exchanging density allowances for affordable housing.

The most compact, connected metro area in America is New York/White Plains/Wayne, NY-NJ with a Sprawl Index of 203.4. Five MSAs from Connecticut were included in the report, their results are below.

Rank MSA             Density  Land Use  Activity        Street               Sprawl          
                                                Mix             Centering  Connectivity     Index Score                           
37      Bridgeport- 110.63   132.86       118.02        100.81             121.64
52      New Haven- 106.86   127.52      113.51         97.82               116.29
84      Norwich-        87.22      84.71        137.44         71.04              108.85
           New London 
137    Hartford-        100.12    113.10      119.54         72.59                93.50
           West Htfd-
            East Htfd 


View the full report at Smart Growth America


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