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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a number of impacts of urban sprawl.  Let us look at a few of them.

In terms of quality of life, a major impact of urban sprawl is the need for longer commutes, largely by car.  There is rarely enough mass transit in areas where sprawl has occurred and so many people have to drive to work.  This tends to cause a great deal of traffic.  People end up spending long periods of time driving to and from work.  This detracts to some degree from their quality of life.

In environmental terms, sprawl is bad.  All of the extra traffic means that there will be more fossil fuels burned.  The sprawl means that green space is converted into impervious surfaces like streets and parking lots.  When it rains, water no longer soaks into the ground but is channeled along streets, causing things like overflowing sewers.  Finally, sprawl creates more “heat islands” because of the loss of green space.

In health terms, sprawl is often detrimental.  Sprawl creates land use patterns that make it hard for people to walk anywhere.  People get less exercise because their only real choice is to drive everywhere they go.  This leads to poorer health for many people.

In these ways, urban sprawl tends to have a number of negative effects.