Phoenix Ranks Poorly In Urban Sprawl Report

April 02, 2014

A new report ranks American cities by urban sprawl. Phoenix does not perform very well.

The report from Smart Growth America measures the factors that determine city planning that best utilizes the land. Those factors are development density, land use mix, activity centering and street accessibility, according to the report. The group ranked over 200 metro areas and those near the top have the least sprawl.

New York City unsurprisingly claims the number one spot. The Phoenix metro area ranks 173rd. Tucson just beats Phoenix, ranking 171st.

Ilana Preuss is vice president and chief of staff at Smart Growth America. She said sprawl has economic consequences.

“Areas that are more compact and more connected have a greater upward economic mobility than the sprawling ones,” Preuss said. “So that means, for instance, a child born in the bottom 20 percent of the income has a better chance of rising to the top 20 percent by the age of 30.”

Preuss said Phoenix ranks poorly partly because its population and jobs are spread out and because there is less access to mass transit.

Lake Havasu City and Prescott are also on the list. Both rank among the most sprawling metro areas in the report.