Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Final throes of ATL sprawl

AJC blogger Jay Bookman recites last rites over the final days of Atlanta's suburban boom:
Even before the recession hit, the sprawl model of growth was showing serious strains in metro Atlanta. Admittedly, it was hard to see at the time. The U.S. Census Bureau, for example, reported that from July 2000 to July 2008, six of the 15 fastest growing counties in the country could be found here in the 28-county Atlanta metro region.

By the end of that eight-year stretch, however, the Atlanta boom had cooled considerably ....

Younger people forming households of their own are more interested in urban living than in recreating their suburban upbringing, and many older Americans are also looking to downsize their living arrangements. The rising cost of commuting and energy to heat and cool large homes are having an impact as well.

Government’s declining ability to subsidize farflung suburbia has also had an effect. In Atlanta and other areas, the transportation infrastructure needed to shorten commuting times and thus extend the suburban model still farther from the core is no longer practical or affordable; it has become a struggle just to service already developed areas.

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