Things that are never listed as urban sprawl

1. Golf courses

2. Horse farms

3. Penthouses (think about it; one family uses space that other families would normally use; no, it’s not as space consumptive as single-family homes, but 3,000 sq ft units are still a great way to keep poor people out)

4. Ponds and parks (I like parks as much as the next person, but when you put them in, they do spread out land uses, even if you control land around them, as in Manhattan, and you could use the land in Central Park for housing a la Singapore or Hong Kong at even residential densities. No, I am not advocating we get rid of Central Park.) That is, unless you think the lack of open space in cities prompts people to suburbanize. Interesting question, that.

5. Tiffany’s, as the nice new set up in Pasadena. Did LA need another Tiffany’s outside of Rodeo Drive? I mean, how many impulse trips to Tiffany’s does one take? It’s hard telling. Now, affluent Tiffany patrons in the outer suburbs can drive shorter distances, saving emissions, right? But Tiffany’s is in a walkable space in Pasadena, served by light rail, so it’s ok, just as long as the patrons are also picking up their locavore packages, right? Oh, but Target or Walmart? Sprawl, sprawl, sprawl: people should be ashamed of themselves for going there, shouldn’t they, tsk, tsk, unlike Banana Republic.

I’m trying to get you to look at the sprawl discourse using social class as lens instead of environmentalism. Yes, the environmental discourse is really important. But we can’t assume that the environmentalism discussion covers the social justice discussion entirely.