In the 20th century Southern California became a sprawling landscape of limited access. In the 21st century the region lives with a legacy armature of injustice and environmental degradation. Although transit and other multi- and intermodal initiatives have recently begun to alleviate some of the drivers of this condition in the major cities and metropolitan areas of the region, the mobility availed by the interstate highway system has created pervasive unsustainable patterns of access across the region.
The transportation and land use pattern associated with sprawl and limited access mirrors other disadvantageous patterns for people of lesser means. Mobility, enhanced by the interstate network, has had the perverse effect of limiting access to goods and services to vehicle owners.
The transportation network privileges vehicles and their occupants. Retail and commercial services cluster near interstate exits, accessible to those who can afford to get to them. Healthcare other services are also present, but more rarely. These formulaic single use zones extend in repetitive highway strips. Bicyclists and pedestrians find little safe access. Southern California area has the nation’s highest volume of traffic on arterial roadways. Immediately behind these arterials, lie labyrinthine subdivisions.
The transportation network, intended to create human connectivity, has paradoxically fractured it when all people are considered. Transportation corridors have ls driven the underlying fragmentation of the natural environment. Precipitous impacts on habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem services undermined regional resilience.
The Redford Conservancy is committed to mitigation and adaptation of this highly consumptive, unjust, and ecologically precipitous environment. The magnitude of the problems created by limited access infrastructure and sprawl underpin so many issues of sustainability and resilience – touching all of the other issue areas – that policy, design and management solutions must embody new ecologies of choice in connected movement systems and patterns of urbanization that advance diversity and multifunctionality.
the Brookings Institution (using 2006 data)