Just the word can stir up images of magnificent mountains and scenic panoramas., as we step into the 21st century, landscape more likely means a city-sized shopping mall or a few hundred acres of identical houses, held together by pavement and connected by turnpikes.
The definition of urban sprawl is--"incremental spread of urbanized areas across the regional landscape". It is quickly becoming a main attribute of the American Countryside. Fixed in zoning practices, clear by economic forces and driven on by cheap automobile travel, it is a pattern so persistent that it scarcely needs to be described to the normal American.
But describing its effects on the environment are a lot more difficult than just lamenting the absence of a good view. Understanding the environmental penalty of urban sprawl has become one of the difficulties taken up by the science known as landscape ecology.
As a result of all of us going when and where we want to go, urban sprawl has been persistent, unabated since 1900 when the first motorized vehicles appeared. As the population of the United States shifted from around 40 percent urban in 1900 to more than 75 percent urban in 1990. Land use changed more severely as a lopsided amount of agricultural and open land was lost to development around cities. Sprawl and its inherited problems will be the major issue facing us in the 21st century. Most people don't realize what this country, America, used to be like before all the land was destroyed due to development, not to mention all the agricultural land that is getting destroyed.