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What is an Example of Urban Sprawl?

Updated on May 11, 2015

Understanding Urban Sprawl

One example of urban sprawl familiar to me is the urban sprawl that occurs around one of the, if not the single most important economic center in the United States: New York City. In New York City, it is very easy to see the physical stages of urban sprawl as one travels gradually away from the center of the city. My freshman year of college, I attended Pace University in Downtown Manhattan and witnessed many examples of this.

While college life in dorms can in many ways stand independent from the economic responsibilities and consequences of “real life,” I could see the way theories of location rent affected my friends who paid for rent in apartments and the restaurant I worked at, which managed multiple locations throughout the New York City area.

For my friends, they constantly weighed how far away from Downtown Manhattan they were willing to move versus the costs of being closer to the city center. While a shoebox-sized studio apartment with a half kitchen might have cost them $1,800 near Wall Street or Midtown, they could have paid the same thing between two or three of them for a two bedroom apartment in Astoria, Queens, the Bronx, or farther uptown in Washington Heights.

Examples such as this conform to the foundations of economic urban sprawl and location rent in my opinion, and proof of these theories can be seen all over in the city as a person moves further away from the city’s center.


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