Urban sprawl is a phenomenon that is deeply rooted in our culture, and is manifested in our cities and towns for better or for worse. Under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the interstate highway system was introduced in the early 1950’s. The resulting multi lane highway network coupled with the advancement of the large family automobile and introduction of the family van made it possible for many americans to live further from the densely populated and congested cities, and make the daily commute into work via the comfort of their automobile.
As a result the city once known as “a bustling metropolis” slowly transformed itself into a work place during the day and a deserted crime ridden place at night. For decades cities all over the United States grappled with the problem of Urban decay and a shift to suburban satellite towns.
In recent years, numerous municipalities including the city of Fort Worth have devised clever ways to re-populate neglected and underdeveloped parts of its urban core. Many now offer cost saving incentives to people seeking to move back to the city. Such incentives include NEZ (neighborhood empowerment zones) http://fortworthtexas.gov/neighborhoods/NEZ/ which essentially enable the home or business owner to forego any costs related to building permits or other municipal fees, amounting to thousands of dollars in savings. Another important incentive called the “TIF” (Tax Incremental Funding) allocates tax money within the TIF district to be used for public improvements for a commercial project. http://fortworthtexas.gov/EcoDev/TIF/ These public improvements include trees, street lights and other infrastructure upgrades within the public right of way.
US cities, boast a long and at times vibrant history and legacy, manifesting a vast cultural heritage. Luckily, through the current pro-active forward looking approach, these places see an influx of returning residents and thereby a gradual retreat from Suburbia.