Technological Solutions to the Effects of Urban Sprawl

The latest innovations have greatly enhanced people’s way of life. The enlargement of cities to rural areas, also known has urban sprawl, has enable people to improve their daily activities (Frumkin 3). This type of industrialization has resulted in many problems.

Urban sprawl relies on the improvement of technology and the design of automobiles. There are many technological developments that aim at reducing the social and ecological issues raised by urban sprawl, but such strategies only reduce the emissions of gases which affect the environment. This paper analyses the extent to which technological solutions can help resolve the effect of motorized urban sprawl.

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The increase in automobile production enables people to extend their operations to rural areas. Most people are now using their personal cars to travel to work, and this in return speeds urban sprawl. As more people use cars, there is rise of congestion in urban places since going to work is more difficult when using bicycle or walking. This is considered to be ‘motorized urban sprawl’ which is the cause of social and ecological problems (Martin 68).

Motorized urban sprawl has many problems associated with it. These problems are mainly social and ecological. To begin with, environmental problems caused by this aspect include global warming and change in climate. This is because of the use of cars that emit dangerous gases to the environment.

In addition, ecological issues raised by emission of dangerous gases such as carbon dioxide include loss of cultivation land and forest, loss of recreational space, and increase in public (Frumkin 3). Lack of farms for cultivation may lead to reduced food supply thus resulting to increased food prices and social imbalance due to the fact that many people would consider migrating to urban areas.

Second, the differences between the rich and the poor are among the main requirements of society. Martin argues that the cost of buying a vehicle may be a barrier for the poor people, and it can differentiate the rich from the poor (69). This implies that poor people will be disadvantaged because of the motorized urban sprawl.

Poor families will need to live within the congested cities which are considered to be unhealthy. Besides, the reduced mass transportation or rather public means of transport can lead to unequal transportation. Furthermore, people with physical and mental disabilities may not be able to drive cars; hence they are discriminated from the urban sprawl.

Thirdly, using fuel to operate vehicles produce gases which pollute the environment, leading to unfavorable health problems. There is also the tendency of increased automotive accidents caused by careless driving and the increased need for quicker travel. Frumkin outlines that urban sprawl make people to use cars rather than walk or use bicycles (4).

This also implies that people cannot keep fit due to the dependency on cars thus raising the chances of acquiring obesity. Again, people are normally stressed up when in jammed roads.

To solve these problems, there is need to develop good transportation systems. Transportation systems exist to help people in their daily activities, be it social, economic, or personal development. The availability of affordable means of transport, such as mass transportation, has enabled individuals and governments to reduce transportation impacts on sustainability.

According to Gonzalez transportation systems have major sustainability impacts in social, economic, and environmental aspects (38). Business groups such as ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) have proposed environmental preservation through the help of technology. Such organizations advocates for the improvement of alternative source of energy through technologies that produce clean fuel which are free from carbon dioxide and the use of nuclear energy.

Although these solutions depend on technology, it is still difficult to solve the problems of urban sprawl. For instance, the proposed solutions such as nuclear energy have a very serious problem in regards to nuclear wastes. Gonzalez argues that there is need to reduce urbanization through reviewing the land management rules (46).

The mentioned impacts calls for formulation of strategies that can help realize many objectives, and avoid those that tend to solve one problem in the expense of others. For instance, a plan that reduces transportation costs but increases noise pollution or traffic congestion cannot be regarded as sustainable solution.

Dependable strategies are those that reduce the overall effect of transportation systems and encourage effective use of transport resources. The most appropriate approaches to solving transportation problems would include walking or cycling, mass transportation, and the use of hybrid or electric vehicles (Gonzalez).

Walking and bicycling provide both exercise and transportation, although people may choose a particular journey to serve both purposes. Mass transportation or public transportation is another option of transport that is considered to reduce the effects of urban sprawl. Another category of sustainable transportation is the hybrid vehicle.

This class of vehicles uses electricity and gas, providing more efficient means of transport. Hollis outlines that electric automobiles are comparatively economical, and cause no problem, if not less than a normal car. The shortage of fuel and environmental factors has been the major drivers of using electric cars in recent times (2).

In conclusion, the increased use of automobiles that result to urban sprawl raises many issues from health to social problems. Relying on technology alone cannot reduce the impacts of motorized urban sprawl. The technological solutions which advocates for use of clean fuels and electric cars cannot solve all the problems. Proper planning and management of transportation systems is seen as essential means of addressing social problems and to some extend deal with the ecological problems.

Works Cited

Frumkin, Howard. “Urban Sprawl and Public Health” Public Health Reports. 117(2001).

Gonzalez, G. A. “Urban Sprawl, Global Warming and The Limits of Ecological Modernization.” Environmental Politics, 14:3(2005): 34-362

Hollis, Christopher. “Alternative Forms of Transportation. The Fuels and Technologies That Power Them”. Hollis Innovations, LLC. 2001. Web. 29 Nov. 2009.

Martin, G. “Motorization, Social Ecology and China”, Area, 39:1(2007): 66-73

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