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LA's Urban Core Sucking Back Up Some of That Leaking Sprawl

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A recent EPA study, discussed in the New York Times today, says that even sprawly Los Angeles has been redeveloping and building density more than it's been sprawling lately. The report is called "Residential Construction Trends in America's Metropolitan Regions," (link goes to a pdf) and it looks at residential building permit data from the US's 50 largest metropolitan areas over a 19 year period from 1990 to 2008--"permits issued by central cities and core suburban communities [were] compared to the amount issued by suburban and exurban communities." LA may have benefited in the study from having sprawled early and often; those core suburbs were considered redevelopment zones if "1) the land area of the jurisdiction did not significantly increase between the 1990 and 2000 Censuses; and 2) the community was within 5 miles of the central city or within a clear regional boundary." Still, it deemed the increase in the southland's redevelopment "substantial," and found that all over the country "in metropolitan regions with large and diverse central cities with strong ties to the global economy (New York, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Los Angeles) the market fundamentals are shifting toward redevelopment even in the absence of formal policies and programs at the regional level." It also found that even when the market turned in 2006 and 2007, new single family residences declined faster than multi-family buildings, and that the "inward shift" continued in 2008, even when the total amount of permits issued went down. [Image via Slices of Light]

· Residential Construction Trends in America’s Metropolitan Regions (link goes to a pdf) [E&E Publishing]
· 'Smart Growth' Taking Hold in U.S. Cities, Study Says [NYT]