Jargon Watch: Vertical Sprawl
In this article in today's NYT, I came across a new term coined to fight infilling our existing urbanized areas--vertical sprawl--a higher density land use that causes increased traffic, parking problems, and the cost of supporting new projects with schools, water and other municipal services. Key unique issue is building height, and shadows cast on adjacent properties.
Parking can be solved through adequate below grade parking--a matter of public policy, economics and soil types. Traffic is a more complicated issue. It depends on safe, time efficient, and convenient alternatives to SOV's (single occupancy vehicles). Economics need to factor in the door-to door elapsed time and yuck factors of urban mass transit.
The costs of building type I--highrise--(c. $550PSF) are two times the costs of building lowrise--type V (c. $275PSF). The cost of land and infrastructure does not offset these higher construction costs, which is why people still flock to the exurbs and ignore the transportation costs (for a while).
Housing costs are starting to be viewed as the combination of costs of housing plus costs of transportation to work and services
"Significant empirical evidence is beginning to point towards a tantalizing association of economic productivity and compact, centered, and efficient regions."
The Sierra Club produced a white paper on sprawl and an interesting study--particularly the contrast between Portland OR and Atlanta GA--cities with roughly equivalent growth with widely varying effects on costs of providing services, traffic, and air pollution.