Dear Mayor Helmann, I would like to bring to your attention the rise in development in our community through urban sprawl and some of the problems it has created. Urban sprawl is the spread of housing and other development typified by low-rise buildings, residential communities and commercial centers such as malls and business parks that encompass large areas. It occurs in areas that were historically on the outskirts of major cities, and have gradually been swallowed by the growing metropolis with the advent of rail and road transportation networks. The phenomenon of urban sprawl is common throughout most major U.
S cities, and every where it comes with a blend of problems. In Oak Lawn, the spread of housing and other development including commercial areas is contributing to traffic congestion, rising noise levels and increased pollution. The establishment of highway I-294 has increased the flow of traffic to this once quiet area. In recent years our community has grown leaps and bounds. The rebirth of Oak Lawn’s downtown area has on one hand added to the character of the locale but at the same time congestion has increased and a fresh influx of residents to the area has also laid stress on the local public school and healthcare systems.
While many of these developments have helped rejuvenate the community, still locals have had to deal with many problems that have sprung up. One example is the increase in traffic accidents and the incidence of traffic violations. I humbly suggest that your office take note of these traffic problems and take measures to improve enforcement in this department. The addition of attractive phrases under traffic signs that was initiated some years back could be re-started as it was a good way to attract attention towards traffic signs and encouraged people to follow them.
Also, litter in the downtown area, specifically around the train station is becoming an eye sore. Much of this is left behind by busy commuters and visitors to the area. I suggest that we should divert more resources to the cleanliness of this area. We should also take steps to raise awareness not just among locals but also those who may pass through the area during their commutes or visitors to Oak Lawn. I hope that some of my suggestions will be useful for you in reducing the urban sprawl in our community and help maintain its historical tranquility while adjusting to new developments.
Yours Sincerely, 3. Chicagoland most resembles the sector model. From the vantage point of downtown Chicago, the city’s growth may be seen as having followed main connecting arteries of the road system: to the north, the extension of the inter-state highway 94, to the north-west I-90; I-88 to the west and so on. In each direction high-rent areas besides downtown Chicago have emerged along the main transport networks, be it Schaumburg or Naperville. Within the city, certain streets such as North Avenue and Sheffield Avenue radiate out from downtown, much like the explanation in the text.
These are the locales that are dotted with some of the best restaurants, most frequented bars and other entertainment venues. Residential property, hotels and malls bordering Lake Shore drive are another example of the wedge-shaped growth of higher-income areas. Chicagoland least resembles the concentric ring model. First of all, the city is cordoned by the lake on one side, so concentric circles cannot emerge from the city’s centre. Secondly, key transportation links like O’Hare airport and Midway airport; and industrial parks of the city developed in diagonal trajectories from the downtown area.
Thirdly, an overview of the area shows very differentiable locales along the circumferences of concentric circles. For instance, Carol Stream, Elk Grove Village and Des Plaines are all comparably distant from downtown. Yet Elk Grove Village has developed major industrial parks, Carol Stream is a higher-income neighborhood, while Des Plaines is mostly comprised of middle-range housing. Similarly, within the inner-city areas on the north-west side of town tend to fetch higher rents as compared to areas that are just as far from downtown on the southern side.
Of course there are many high-rent residences in that part of town too but in general terms the difference is clear. The multiple nuclei model is relevant to the layout of Chicagoland to the extent that many suburban areas have developed their own urban realms. But the spread of residential or industrial areas along the web-shaped road and rail networks of the city defies the multiple nuclei model. Many of the outlying suburbs have developed their own shopping districts complete with large malls, theatres and restaurants but even the spread of these can best be visualized as the spokes of a wheel centered in the city’s downtown area.
4. Urban hierarchy is a term that explains the structure of towns within an area, and how the size and population of each of these towns affects the demographics of the other towns within the area. As people’s dependence on cars increases, more and more small towns are emerging on the fringes of big metropolises. Similarly, many small towns are growing in population and new developments are taking place in them as the phenomenon of city dwellers moving into suburban areas continues. The emergence of small towns alongside big cities takes place due to myriad reasons;
Various environmental and accessibility factors dictate the size of cities. So if an area has a vast natural harbor and is positioned such that it may be accessed from different regions, its chances of emerging as a mega metropolis are heightened. New York is a prime example of just such a city. Economies of scale can be attained in these areas by various commercial enterprises and so their economic efforts are concentrated in this region. Even before the emergence of modern road and rail networks, cities like New York and Philadelphia grew at a much faster pace than other cities because of their openness to immigrant populations.
Private enterprises are always focusing on attaining economies of scales. Often this means the concentration of similar firms in the same region. For instance, the car manufacturing industry grew in and around Detroit and the software industry is prevalent in cities of California. Over time, professionals employed by these industries have taken up residence in these areas. Universities and training institutes catering to these firms have cropped up and residential and commercial development has taken place to accommodate the influx of people.
In other regions where the geographical location and lack of resources has not been favorable for the growth of industries, the size and complexity of towns has remained limited. The concept of urban hierarchy assumes that private enterprises want to locate such that they can maximize their access to markets and raw material sources and at the same time reach highest levels of efficiency. By consolidating in certain areas, they are able to procure raw material at cheap rates and also have access to the work force.
This works both ways, that is to say that the kind of people most likely to prosper in such enterprises also settle in these areas and in time the region becomes more and more densely packed. Often times, smaller communities develop on the fringes of such cities where support industries are established. Here complementary products and services may be manufactured or simply housing may be provided for many of those employed in the big city close by. Cities can also be classified according to this concept based on their level of functional complexity, size and demographics.
Typically cities and towns are divided into four classes; with first order towns being the smallest in size with limited populations and providing only the bare essentials in their own markets (food stores, clothing stores). Third and fourth order towns are the biggest and most complex, often accommodating many smaller communities in them. The presence of small towns is necessary for big cities. Firstly, major industries in the big urban centre need many smaller industries that provide them with raw material and other goods used in production.
Often times these smaller industries cannot afford to operate inside the bigger cities due to higher real estate and transportation costs. Secondly, many of the people employed in these industries may not be content living in the congested inner city neighborhoods. Similarly, many of the products made by industries in big cities actually target markets in smaller towns. This is true for agricultural machinery and many luxury goods to name a couple of examples. 5. The current train network inside the city of Chicago is nowhere close to being the ideal way to get around.
Even with the addition of the Green line, in many parts of the city pedestrians cannot access the L-trains without having to walk a long way. The train network inside the city is shaped like a web, which must have served well when the system was devised. According to our text, Chicago developed as did other cities in a star-shaped pattern. But as the city evolved, areas that were once sparsely populated have now very populated. The city itself is built on a grid of streets and avenues traveling either north to south or east to west.
Many people who need to travel within the city do not have the luxury of taking one train to their destination. In fact, some of the simplest journeys require multiple stops and modes of transport. For instance traveling from downtown to Skokie to Devon Avenue would entail using the Yellow and Red line trains, followed by a bus ride. Similarly, since the trains operate only in a web network, traveling from one side of the city to another requires that commuters first travel to the loop area where transfer to other train lines is possible.
Now that the CTA has scaled back its operations and eliminated many bus routes, this problem has become even more pronounced. Also, many of the ‘edge’ cities, or towns that lie just outside the main city such as Niles, Wilmette and Park Ridge are served by different buses and their timings are often not well coordinated with the CTA routes. My proposal is that at least one more train should be built which travels parallel to the Red line but is placed further west into the city, possibly along Pulaski Avenue.
This should be complemented with more buses that travel from the last train station of each train line further into the suburbs. The basic purpose of both suggestions is that there are now a greater number of people that live outside the city and commute to the inner city for work. Trains can facilitate them better than buses since they are fast also contribute to reducing congestion on the roads. Various zones should be identified in terms of the social demographics including travel habits before introducing more transport mediums. The use of buses should be reorganized by observing travel habits of people in different locales.
So if residents of Evanston are found to be more generally more interested in theatre, arts and museums; public transport should make such venues in downtown area more accessible to them. Similarly if a high number of students from the south side are attending schools in the loop area, more buses should be allocated to their commute. Many people living in far lying suburbs drive to the city every day causing severe congestion on the highways during morning and evening rush hours. The city should consider faster trains and more parking facilities for such commuters to minimize traffic.
Courtney from Study Moose
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