NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

"Suburban Sprawl" No Federal Emergency

February 4, 1999

Vice President Al Gore wants to curb "suburban sprawl" by handing out $10 billion to a dozen federal agencies -- including the Environmental Protection Agency -- so they can dole the money out to social planners under federal guidelines.

Critics ask if local land development is really a major federal issue.

  • The amount of land consumed by all cities and suburbs is less than 5 percent of the total land area in the continental U.S.
  • According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the amount of land developed each year in the continental U.S. is a mere .0006 percent of the total.
  • The amount of land set aside for wildlife, national parks and wilderness conservation has grown twice as fast as urban areas since World War II.
  • The amount of land fenced off from development is now three times larger than all urban areas combined.

Source: Steven Hayward (Heritage Foundation), "'Smart Growth' a Dumb Idea," Washington Times, February 3, 1999.


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