Sprawl’s pathology

Jeff Speck interviews the CDC’s Richard Jackson in Metropolis Magazine about the ongoing effort to portray sprawl as a public health issue.

It has been asserted that I’m too negative when I describe this situation [the sprawling built environment], and it’s true that we doctors tend to focus on pathology. But we know the treatment for these problems. We know how to build communities with central commons surrounded by civic buildings, with sidewalks, parks, and transport, with kids and old folks being able to get back and forth to their daily destinations. I think we are at the right moment to reinvent American communities back to what they were at their absolute best.

In fact, the focus on pathology — on those big, ultimate causes of death rather than the smaller causes leading up to it — has played a large role in blinding medicine to the problem for decades now.