Urban sprawl or suburban sprawl is a multifaceted concept centered around the expansion of auto-oriented, low-density development. Topics range from the outward spreading of a city and its suburbs to its logical limits, to low-density and auto-dependent development on rural land, examination of impact of high segregation between residential and commercial uses, and analysis of various design features to determine which may encourage car dependency.
Discussions and debates about sprawl are often made unclear by the uncertainty of the meaning associated with the phrase. For example, some commentators measure sprawl only with the average number of residential units per acre in a given area. But others associate it with decentralization (spread of population without a well-defined centre), discontinuity (leapfrog development, as defined below), segregation of uses, and so forth.
The term urban sprawl generally has negative connotations due to the health, environmental and cultural issues associated with the phrase. Residents of sprawling neighbourhoods tend to emit more pollution per person and suffer more traffic fatalities. Sprawl is controversial, with supporters claiming that consumers prefer lower density neighborhoods and that sprawl does not necessarily increase traffic. Others have argued that sprawl is less a reflection of consumer preferences and more a result of legal structures and court decisions that have encouraged sprawl development.
Los Angeles County, also known as L.A. County, officially the County of Los Angeles, is a county in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the county has a population of 9,818,605, making it the most populous county in the United States. Los Angeles County alone is more populous than 42 individual U.S. states. The county seat is the city of Los Angeles, the largest city in California and the second-largest city in the United States (after New York City).
Los Angeles County also includes two offshore islands, San Clemente Island and Santa Catalina Island. The county is home to 88 incorporated cities and many unincorporated areas. At 4,083 square miles (10,570 km2), it is larger than the combined areas of the states of Rhode Island and Delaware.
The county is home to over a quarter of all California residents and is one of the most diverse counties in the country.