Objective: Students will be able to visualize urban growth and understand which land uses are changed during development. Students will be able to determine how land uses are divided in their neighborhood.
This lesson will concentrate on the Sacramento area and is limited to the Sacramento County boundary. Primarily it can be used as a model for your own community or for background reference for students in understanding growth issues.
Background: Urban Sprawl has become an issue in recent years as growing metro areas stretch community resources and encroach on farmland, open space, and wildlife habitat. Air and water quality suffer as population in the area grows and strains resources. There are many competing interests that must be balanced as politicians, planners, and communities balance what land should be used for what purposes and what should remain undeveloped. This Urban growth timeline from CERES shows how the Central Valley Region of California has grown since 1900 and offers some scale and perspective.
Current Sacramento Planning: The map below
shows the 1997 General Plan for growth in Sacramento County. The Urban
Area is from 1995 TIGER Census Data.
The Urban Land Boundary is
the line past which the city does not plan on extending its services such
as water and sewer lines. This could be thought of as the permanent
limit of growth for the city. The city will need to develop the land
within this line rather than outside of it.
The The next map shows where growth is planned for new construction in the Growth Areas. Notice that much of the land that has been developed since the 1995 census has been used for Industry. It is best if growth areas are planned adjacent to developed areas so that infrastructure is less costly and preserves more open space for future development or protection.
Extensions: Have students determine which areas in the county are prime agricultural and wildlife habitat. Determine where natural resources are located. Use layers to determine if the right areas are being used for growth, determine where wildlife corridors could go, and decide which areas have resources that should be preserved. For Sacramento County this information can be gained from the County Plan from CERES. Othe county information is at LUPIN .
Local Area: Students can also get a feel for land use in there neighborhood where areas are grouped according to their uses. Here is a map of the neighborhood surrounding our school which shows different uses in action. The areas that are not colored are residential areas.
1. Where is your house? Is it in a residential area? Is your neighborhood a mixed area that has both residential and commercial side by side? Can you walk to stores and parks? How long does it take?
2. The commercial areas seem to have a pattern. Why do you think they are set up the way they are?
3. Suppose you needed to rebuild a block that had burned down. What do you think should be built there? What things would you take into consideration if you owned the land and wanted to develop it?
Have students build maps that show the different types of land uses in their neighborhoods.
These maps were constructed using ArcView 3.1 and using georeferenced
downloaded data from TIGER
For information on land use in small areas, Maps on Demand from the EPA can construct a map for your zip code or address. The only catch is you need to come back later after the map has been made.
This project was developed by Steve Schweigerdt, Hiram Johnson High Science Teacher. Please email me with comments/suggestions at email@example.com !