CNN Money released an article listing off America’s Most Sprawling Cities and Nashville fell as #2 behind Atlanta. This isn’t necessarily a good thing but also not necessarily a bad thing.
Residents in more sprawling cities are more likely to have fewer economic opportunities, be less healthy and have shorter life spans compared to people in more compact areas. But just because sprawl is related to negative social conditions, it does not necessarily cause them.
To calculate sprawl, they looked at four things:
— The density of houses and jobs
— The mix of residential and commercial buildings (the greater the mix, the better)
— The concentration of residential and commercial developments in downtown or other “activity” areas, like a waterfront
— The “accessibility” of streets, including the length of blocks (the shorter the better, because it means more cross walks) and the number of four-way intersections (the more the better because it means greater street connectivity)
The researchers then cross-referenced these data points with data on economic mobility, life expectancy and other similar metrics to reach their conclusions. Most of the data came from the Census Department. Researchers also noted that cheap land in some places encourages sprawl.