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“Though it may be that parks are likely to attract criminal elements at night, there is little evidence that crimes committed in parks at night wouldn’t be committed elsewhere if parks were closed. Putting up fences around parks assumes that parks have the magical effect of turning upstanding citizens into crooks.”—Drew Reed on why fencing off parks may not reduce crime.
Incredible time-lapse image of Atlanta's metro sprawl
Google’s Earth Engine lets you view time-lapse satellite images from 1984-2012. It’s an amazing tool for seeing the expansion of our built environments over that time.
Take a look at the changes to the land in this time-lapse of the northern part of Metro Atlanta.
The sprawling development of the area, and the resulting loss of green space, is frightening to see, particularly with reports of a rebound in single-family home construction pointing the way toward continued sprawl.
Here’s some sobering info from the New Georgia Encyclopedia on our urban sprawl and the damage that happens when urbanization of land outpaces population growth via low-density development:
Metropolitan Atlanta is the least densely populated metropolitan area in the United States…Between 1982 and 1992 the amount of greenspace lost to development in the Atlanta metropolitan area increased by 38 percent.
Since 1987 the Atlanta region has lost an average of fifty acres of tree cover per day. Much of this loss is a direct result of encroachment by low-density sprawl development into forested and agricultural areas. This deforestation and loss of vegetation, coupled with increased pavement and rooftops, creates a “heat island” effect (temperatures can be up to twelve degrees higher in heavily paved areas of Atlanta) and contributes to the region’s air pollution problems as well.
Instead of getting excited about a rebound in single-family home construction, Metro leaders need to get interested in accommodating population growth and new development in a way that reduces environmental harm. The practices of the last few decades have caused too much damage. Instead of repeating those mistakes, we need to learn from them and commit to compact, walkable infill.