Published: | Updated: February 12, 2017

Definition - What does Sprawl mean?

Sprawl is a term used to describe the motion of spreading out. This can be applied physically, as with a persons body position, or it can be applied to describe urban sprawl. Urban sprawl is when the inhabitants of a city spread out into the surrounding rural areas and population spreads out over a larger geographical area and becomes less densely packed in a city center.

Safeopedia explains Sprawl

Urban sprawl occurs when people abandon the densely populated or crowded central parts of a city in favor of suburban areas with large space, previously home to wildlife and farms. There are many factors involved when considering the cause of urban sprawl, but reasons include a preference for larger houses and larger lawns or over-dependence on motor vehicles. Urban sprawl can have negative effects like increased pollution and water consumption, as well as a loss of wildlife.

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