Understanding Sprawl Inequality

Rob McDonald, a scientist with The Nature Conservancy‘s Conservation Strategies Division, writes at the Cool Green Science blog:

“Another concept I’ve been exploring is what I’m calling sprawl inequality. This comes out of the famous Pareto Principle, that 80 percent of any phenomenon is due to 20 percent of the people. How much of habitat loss in cities is due to a small proportion of folks living in suburbs or exurbs? After a bunch of GIS work, the answer appears to be: 80 percent of urban development (in terms of area) is due to 35 percent of folks who live at the lowest densities. We may all have a responsibility to move toward more sustainable cities, but we aren’t all equally to blame for sprawl.”