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Richmond ranks among the best at reduction of sprawl

May 13, 2014 9:00 am by

The continued increase of the city’s population and perhaps the growth of density around Short Pump has lead to an overall reduction of sprawl in the Richmond metropolitan area.

In a recent article on Politico, Rebecca Burns tips to a report detailing the top 25 cities that have reduced sprawl the most in the last 10 years. Richmond comes at sweet #16:

In a new report out last month, the research and advocacy group Smart Growth America ranks “urbanized” areas—those the U.S. Census Bureau defines as 50,000 people or more—according to how sprawling or compact they are. The report’s authors, led by University of Utah professor Reid Ewing, based their index on four factors: residential and employment density; the mix of homes, jobs and services; the strength of activity centers and downtowns; and street accessibility. Comparing their results with 2000 data, Ewing came up with the list […], showing the 25 cities that reduced sprawl the most over the past decade.

So how did they do it? In some cases, it’s a matter of attracting residents to an existing downtown through new housing developments […] Ewing also points to a widespread pattern of “polycentric” development—cities encouraging the growth of smaller urban “subcenters” […]

While this is progress, the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Areas still ranks badly, coming in at 9th worst among areas having a population more than one million according to the report. The City of Richmond itself ranks 5th in Virginia behind Arlington, Alexandria, Norfolk, and Charlottesville.

PHOTO: Church Hill vs Short Pump

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