This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

From a King County Metro presentation, this slide jumped out at me.  The colored areas are regions with increasing population between 2000 and 2008.  Anyone know why this is happening?  My guess is: zoning restrictions + cheap morgages + more roads = exurban sprawl.

4 Replies to “This is what sprawl looks like.”

  1. Seeing this chart just seems to confirm to me even more that the fight for better transit is all about preventing sprawl and encouraging compact development along established transportation infrastructure. But I also fear that this fight has already been lost in the Puget Sound region. We are stuck with places like Sammamish, Spanaway and Smokey Point that have developed considerably but still have people commuting over an hour each way on roads that weren’t ever designed for such great amounts of travel.

  2. I’m thoroughly unimpressed with that slide. If you look closely you’ll see that a lot of Seattle and closer suburbs showed modest .01-.12% growth, but the coloration is almost indistinguishable from the negative growth areas. Also it’s percent growth in census blocks, which means for example a handful of mcmansions built on farmland equals huge bright colored growth covering several square miles!

  3. Well, the “why” of the matter is simply that areas that are already densely settled will grow more slowly than areas that are sparsely settled. Throw in a housing price bubble and the fact that half the legislature is owned by the homebuilding industry, and you have 99% of the explanation needed.

    That said, the map is an appalling picture of rogue development.

  4. [josh] Yeah, I think if nothing else Seattle needs a slide of its own. But I disagree about your second comment. We have a lot to fear about new development in farmland. Those few mcmansions require power, water supply, roads, garbage service, etc. and result in large communities. 5% growth is huge, no matter how sparsely populated these regions were.

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