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VU students testing area waters
The Northwest Indiana Times (11/21)
Students of Valparaiso University, Ind., were at Lake Michigan to work on water quality measurements for an Environmental Protection Agency education project.

Forest Hills students put surf boards to the test in Lake Michigan
MLive (11/20)
Surf’s up! Well at least it was for some lucky students from Forest Hills Public Schools on Thursday, Nov. 19. Twenty students from each of the district’s three high schools had an opportunity to surf 10- to 12-foot waves at Grand Haven State Park, Mich.

City says yes to dock sale
Traverse City Record-Eagle (11/3)
In Traverse City, Mich., commissioners agreed to sell the coal dock marina to a group of nonprofit organizations focused on Great Lakes history, education and environmental protection to expand use for nonprofits and construct new, modern facilities.

TVDSB high school students learn about importance of Great Lakes
St. Thomas Times-Journal (10/31)
Participants at the Lake Erie Student Conference spent the day in Port Stanley, Ont., taking demonstrations on water quality testing, commercial fishing, birds of prey and the threat of invasive species.

TEACH Calendar of Events
What's going on in your neighborhood this month? Meet other people and learn together at recreational and educational events! Our new dynamic calendar is updated daily with current educational events.
Urban Sprawl in the Great Lakes

table of contents
The Causes of Sprawl
The Effects of Sprawl
Some Solutions to Sprawl
More Information

Know sprawl when you see it!Perhaps you've noticed your community is getting a little bigger. Road construction seems to be everywhere and traffic is more heavy than it used to be; new strip malls and "big box" stores are popping up; and land on the outskirts of your town is being cleared for new housing subdivisions. Your community could be experiencing urban sprawl, an issue that has affected cities and towns across the country as well as the Great Lakes region.

Urban sprawl can be generally defined as wide-spread, low-density development that consists primarily of strip commercial developments, such as malls and large office buildings, and housing subdivisions connected by new, wide roads and boulevards. The subdivisions are set apart from other development and built within a specific price range, and people are dependant on their cars to get them from one place to another. With sprawl, fewer people occupy more land and as the people spread out, so do the buildings, roads and houses. Urban sprawl is difficult to define but people usually know it when they see it. The following maps describe what an urban sprawl suburb might look like (left) compared to the land use plan of a town that avoids sprawl (right).

Sprawl    Anti-sprawl
Maps by Gail Dennis, Michigan Land Use Institute
Source: "The Next American Metropolis," by Peter Calthorpe.

The Great Lakes region is losing its rich farmland and other greenfields to urban sprawl at an alarming rate, and the environment and the residents are paying the price. Many cities of the Great Lakes region, such as Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, are seeing their businesses and residents move to the suburbs, forever destroying open spaces and leaving behind cities of abandoned buildings with fewer tax payers.

Graphics: Urban sprawl layout (left) compared to an anti-sprawl urban design (right)

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