How Cities Grow


City growth can occur in two ways:  sprawl growth that consumes precious farmland, or cities can focus their attention on revitalizing older urban settings and filling in where possible first, before growing outward. There is a lot of information available on the detriments of sprawl growth on our taxes, public health and communities.

Sprawl and Public Health

Urban sprawl impacts land use, transportation, and social and economic development, but it also has serious implications for our health. There is increasing evidence that the way we design our communities discourages physical activity such as walking and cycling, contributes to air pollution, and promotes pedestrian injuries and fatalities. Automobile dependence contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, and increases the risk of car crashes. Runoff due to the absence of vegetation is polluting our water systems. And sprawl may threaten mental health and social capital. Join us as we discuss these and other health effects and present the case of Portland, Oregon, a community that has made great strides in containing urban sprawl. We will explore the history of this issue, our current situation, and future directions in promoting smart growth and healthy communities (  Additional resources on sprawl growth:

And, check out these visions for smart growth where some communities have chosen to revitalize: