How One Suburb Fought Sprawl…Sort Of

As strange as it sounds, it can happen, according to this recent story in the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Even today, Cranberry retains some rugged rural terrain amidst the strip malls and drive-throughs. Cranberry may be a synonym for “suburban sprawl” for many, but local officials are trying to preserve those places — and environmentalists give them high marks for the effort.

Still, finding a connection with nature is a lot like my coyote encounter: If you blink, you may miss it,” the author writes.

What did the Pittsburgh-area suburb of Cranberry do? This “poster child for sprawl” has allowed zoning to allow mixed-use development and fees to pay for better infrastructure.

“In Cranberry, at least, developers are cottoning to the idea that a huge segment of the home-buying public doesn’t want a McMansion on a postage stamp of bare earth, a 10-minute drive from an asphalt jungle of chain stores and eateries seized by bumper-to-bumper traffic. They want neighborhoods, with parks and trees and businesses that at least pretend to be local,” the writer points out.

However, from what I’ve seen of Cranberry, I think this suburb still has a long way to go. I work with two Cranberry residents, they often spend an hour – or more!- sitting in traffic to get to and from work! And (spoiler alert!) at the end, the author of this piece moves even further out into the country away from the city; as he himself points out, this may just perpetuate the problem…

I liked how this author mixes his personal experiences living here with facts and interviews with local officials.


1 Comment

Filed under Economic Development, Editorial, Good Ideas, Politics, Real Estate, regionalism, sprawl, The Media, Urban Planning

One response to “How One Suburb Fought Sprawl…Sort Of

  1. Hi,
    Love the blog. Great stuff.

    I recently started my own blog @ It would be much appreciated if everyone could comment on my latest post, how to increase teen usage at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. The idea of the blog is to collect ideas that can be implemented into the community. Creatives that win a challenge will be awarded points!

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