Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How Bad Is Spokane's Sprawl? New Study Ranks 221 Metro Areas

Sprawl is a hot topic in our area lately due to the growth management debate underway between the City of Spokane's Councilmembers and the mayor/county commissioners.

In 2002, Smart Growth America released Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact, a landmark study that has been widely used by researchers to examine the costs and benefits of sprawling development.

An update to that study has just been released this week and analyzes development patterns in 221 metropolitan areas and 994 counties in the United States as of 2010, looking to see which communities are more compact and connected and which are more sprawling. Measuring Sprawl 2014 uses 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. Based on those factors, the most compact and connected metro areas are:


Obviously no one expected Spokane to be in the top ten, but just how bad would you guess our sprawl issues is? Based on Measuring Sprawl 2014, we ranked better than I expected! Of 221 metro areas included in the analysis, we're looking pretty good. Click the link to see the report. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, you can type "Spokane" in the search box to go directly to info pertaining to our area. 

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.