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Road Ecology Center

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Second nature: improving transportation without putting nature second


The U.S. is outgrowing the American dream. Between 1950 and 1990, urban land area increased more than twice as fast as population. Development sprawls into rural and natural areas, consuming over two million acres of farmland, open space and wildlife habitat per year. While largely influenced by demographic and socio-economic factors, public policies on transportation and land use have played an important role in shaping development patterns. If the rate of development continues at its current pace and follows today’s sprawling model, the amount of land developed in the next 25 years will equal the total amount developed since the country’s founding.

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