Daily Archives: 12/14/2003

Satellites Watch World’s Cities Grow – Sprawl Sprawl Sprawl

From Roland Piquepaille’s Technology Trends weblog: NASA’s Satellites Watch World’s Cities Grow. The original article at NASA documents the growth of urban areas over ten years. Geographers used satellite imagery to compare the size of cities after 10 year intervals. Urbanization increased at an alarming rate in every case, with some cities growing 25% in just ten years. This urban sprawl is not limited to North American cities, cities in China and India exhibited the same growth patterns of development clustered around major arteries leading out of the cities.

Speaking of sprawl, I found a couple web pages by James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere and a major critic of sprawl and it’s associated architecture. I found the Eyesore of the Month entertaining, but his scathing piece on the modern American landscape struck a chord with me. Home From Nowhere lays out price Americans pay for the ubitquitous automobile, a dead, sparsely populated landscape peppered with parking lots, freeways, fried food ghettos and warehouse shopping boxes without a single window in the edifice. A soulless and bankrupt urban landscape, the antithesis of our popular conception of American small town values, Main Street, public parks, apple pie and kids playing baseball in the street. Such a vision is increasingly a fantasy, replaced by Wal-Mart supercenters with five acres of parking and multi-lane freeways to move all those people and their merchandise around in cars.