Sunday, August 31, 2008

In The Name of Progress

According to Wikipedia, urban sprawl, also known as suburban sprawl, is the spreading of a city and its suburbs over rural land at the fringe of an urban area.The term urban sprawl generally has negative connotations due to the health and environmental issues that sprawl creates. Due to the larger area consumed by sprawling suburbs compared to urban neighborhoods, more farmland and wildlife habitats are displaced per resident. As forest cover is cleared and covered with concrete in the suburbs, rainfall is less effectively absorbed into the ground water aquifers. This threatens both the quality and quantity of water supplies. Sprawl increases water pollution as rain water picks up gasoline and oil runoff from parking lots and roads. Sprawl fragments the land which increases the risk of invasive species spreading into the remaining forest.

I realize that urban sprawl is inevitable, and can even make a positive impact on a growing community. However, I don't have to like it. If you've been a reader of my blog, you will recall several posts describing the pond at Madison Park and its pristine, ecological beauty. Nestled in the middle of a new community, it is a gem amid newly constructed homes, townhouses, and duplexes. My co-worker/photo buddy Darlene and I spend many lunch hours walking along the path in search of interesting subjects to photograph. Many indigenous Georgia species can be found, such as flowering dogwood trees, wild flowers, hawks, buzzards, dragonflies, butterflies, and migrating Canada geese. Approaching the pond is a boardwalk that protects the fragile ecosystem below. From the boardwalk, I have photographed birds and cattails nestled within the surrounding wetlands.

Walking along the path Friday, we could barely hear each other talk over the noise of bulldozers carving the way for new homes. Precious natural grasses and pine trees, where birds and other wildlife once called home, were sliced down to rock and dirt.

I don't live on a pond. But given the choice, I would if I could. Why should I expect someone else to shun a home that has a pond or lake view? At what cost will progress have on the pond? Perhaps the wildlife will find new homes, and new trees and grasses will grow in other safer areas. For now, Darlene and I will be hard pressed to find interesting subjects to photograph. Here are a few examples of what we found during our walk.

What's your opinion on urban sprawl? Are you for progress? Preservation? Or both?


Country Girl said...

I'm for people being able to have a place to live, with stringent guidelines to help preserve nature. These photos are, as always, so beautiful. So much so that I've gone and given you an award. It's on my site.

Sarah S. said...

Lovely pictures! They remind me of some of mine.

Deb said...

I am not a fan of urban sprawl, although, our population continues to grow and thus, we must continue to build.
When still living in the house in Fayetteville, I loved the fact that our my back door, there was at least 5 acres of just trees and nature for us to enjoy. Not the same picture out the front of the house. What bothered me most was being able to watch the constant flight patterns from the airport. I swear there was one time when I was up in one of those planes and we flew directly over my house. I identified The Avenue in Peachtree City, I identified Cleveland Middle school and then, saw my house. That freaked me out a bit, no a lot.
As we plan on where we are going to plant our feet going forward, I want a place that is convienent for the necessary shopping, but rural enough not to be spotted from upabove! Is there such a place?

Roxanne Schwandt said...

Yep, our grand ol city of Neenah is stretching ever so far out these days. The farmers who own land to the west of the city aren't selling it cheap, either. They are making out pretty darn good. I feel bad for those poor animals by your pond. I sure hope the geese and gosslings come back next spring!

Judyann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judyann said...

Hey Debra, glad you had a great weekend and the awesome photos to prove it. I"m not crazy about urban sprawl, but I too would love to live on a body of water, preferably the ocean or intercoastal waterway (or is it intracoastal?). Maybe someday since it wasn't me who won the lottery Friday night.

scrappysue said...

is the pond gone, or will the new houses have pond views? i'm for a little of both, but it seems so brutal doesn't it? georgia has no natural boundaries (hills or waters) pushing out from atlanta in all directions, so i imagine the sprawl is on an epic scale!!!

Jonny's Mommy said...

Great photos. It is always hard to see areas being plowed over for new homes.

Soon there will be no trees or wildlife it seems.

Yeah. I'm a pessimist.