Sick of Sprawl

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 20, 2005

A new report (PDF file) by the Ontario College of Family Physicians casts a harsh light on sprawl in Ontario, identifying the multifarious interconnected ways that low-density development affect health.

The report surveys the following specific health impacts of sprawl:

The report concludes that "serious public health problems will continue to escalate unless decisive and immediate action is taken to control urban sprawl and preserve sufficient greenspace, improve air quality, and protect water sources."

Endangered by Sprawl

In related news, another new report, this time from the National Wildlife Federation, Smart Growth America, and NatureServe, finds that "the conversion of natural areas for homes, offices, and shopping centers [sic] has become one of the most serious threats to America's native plant and animal species." It notes that land development has increased much faster than population, and has steadily accelerated since the 1950s.

The scope: according to the report, "In the United States alone, thirty percent of the nation's plant and animal species are at risk of disappearing, and over 500 species are missing or may already be extinct [original emphasis]."

Perhaps these endangered species will take comfort from the fact that we're also sickening ourselves in the process of destroying their habitats...

...but I kind of doubt it.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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