The many faces of sprawl in the Pioneer Valley

sprawl1Sunday’s Republican did a great job extracting the local relevance of a recent Brookings report on “job sprawl.” It’s a familiar story: Downtown employers seeking out the greener pastures and perceived conveniences of suburban office parks (seen the film “Office Space?”). Many employers claim to simply be following their employees as they cash in on the suburban dream (see Weeds intro below). Would that be “worker sprawl?” And then there’s the most common association with sprawl: strip malls and big box stores (see right). Retail sprawl is another important explanation for evacuated downtowns (key studies here). Plans for a Wal-Mart Superstore were defeated in Hadley, but not in Chicopee. And Holyoke city councilwoman Rebecca Lisi is struggling to help organize some resistance to a new Lowe’s superstore.

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