Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

After 50 Years of Sprawl, a Profound Sense of Loss

Decades ago, Kent was a small Ohio college town, some 40 miles from Cleveland, surrounded by countryside, streams, and thick forests.

false

But slowly, for the last fifty years, single-family, unplanned housing development -- sprawl -- has been making its way southeast. It took constant effort by two generations, but now all those miles that once separated small town from big city have been replaced by "an uninterrupted chain of sprawl," writes Marc Lefkowitz at Network blog Green City Blue Lake.

Lefkowtiz recently drove down to survey the damage. It isn't a pretty sight, he reports:

The rolling hills and lush valleyland near Tinker’s Creek in Portage County are a long drive on the speedway from Cleveland. The Frost Road exit from I-480 is at once as close and as far away from the scene that must have greeted Moses Cleavland when he stood here hundreds of years ago.

In the 1990s, the same pattern of the past 40 years started developing here. The highway was extended, trees felled, wetlands filled and cul-de-sac roads paved. Neo-traditional homes started filling in the forest land between Hudson and Streetsboro.

We turn on to a road built without sidewalks. A tributary to Tinker’s Creek runs under the road in a pipe. I can see the tributary flowing freely at the edge of where homes mark out five-acre lots of landscaped beds and lawn. Pools of suburban living at the edge of a once-vast wood.

We are an hour's drive from Cleveland, staring at the model of achievement of the last century. Living in the forest is one man’s American Dream, but sadly, the dream is spoiled by his paving the way for so many others like him.

Elsewhere on the Network: Wash Cycle challenges readers to distinguish between made up nonsense and actual quotes from anti-bike sensation Dorothy Rabinowitz. Better Institutions says more investment is needed if Safe Routes to School is to have a real impact on childhood obesity. And the FABB blog wishes farewell to outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Wednesday’s Headlines

How should we react to public indifference about the danger cars pose to society? Perhaps a sitcom has something to teach us.

July 24, 2024

Opinion: Is Kamala Harris ‘The Climate President We’ve Been Waiting For’?

Kamala Harris fought hard for a better transportation plan in the San Diego region despite big political risks. If elected president, will she do the same for the country?

July 24, 2024

America is Setting Micromobility Records — But That Boom Could Go Bust Without Public Funding

Shared bike and scooter trips soared 20 percent in a single year. So why are so many U.S. systems shutting down — and what will it take to keep the revolution rolling?

July 24, 2024

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024

Disabled NYer’s are Victims of Gov. Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause

So many New Yorkers can’t use the closest subway station to their homes because they don't have an elevator. And Gov. Hochul just halted funding for 23 new lifts.

July 23, 2024
See all posts