urban sprawl


Definition of urban sprawl

: the spreading of urban developments (such as houses and shopping centers) on undeveloped land near a city

Examples of urban sprawl in a Sentence

efforts to stop urban sprawl

Recent Examples on the Web

The city, which has a population of about 10 million amid an urban sprawl of about 30 million people, also faces major congestion and environmental concerns. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Indonesia Plans to Build a New Capital on Borneo," 27 Aug. 2019 In 2013, San Antonio’s urban sprawl threatened the existence of Bracken Cave’s bats. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Changing Climate Inside the World’s Largest Bat Colony," 6 Aug. 2019 This will include a huge coastal urban sprawl; outlying towns and villages; advance manufacturing hubs in industries like biotech and robotics; and links with international shipping routes. James Vincent, The Verge, "Robot cage fights and flying taxis: leaked documents reveal Saudi Arabia’s plans for its next megacity," 26 July 2019 And consider, finally, the new impetus that robotic chauffeurs could inject into urban sprawl. Andrew Moore, National Geographic, "To build the cities of the future, we must get out of our cars," 17 June 2019 As a city, Houston has long been famous for its urban sprawl. Michelle Sandlin, Houston Chronicle, "On the Move: Houston’s urban environment attracts newcomers," 23 June 2019 And thanks to the growth of both areas, the urban sprawl between the two is probably 10-15 years away from melding the two metros, with small cities like San Marcos and New Braunfels (Kliff Kingsbury’s hometown!) in between. Conor Orr, SI.com, "Which Cities Would Deserve the Newest NFL Expansion Team?," 7 June 2019 Today, both ends of the trail are embedded in a thoroughly urban sprawl of malls and traffic jams, but the middle remains a delicious haven of peace. National Geographic, "10 ancient highways around the world," 3 Apr. 2019 Focusing on the biophysical rules that control these bacterial cities at the microscale might just give scientists a way to halt the urban sprawl and give more humans a fighting chance. Carrie Arnold, Quanta Magazine, "Building Codes for Bacterial Cities," 25 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'urban sprawl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of urban sprawl

1934, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for urban sprawl

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for urban sprawl

The first known use of urban sprawl was in 1934

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More Definitions for urban sprawl

urban sprawl


English Language Learners Definition of urban sprawl

: a situation in which large stores, groups of houses, etc., are built in an area around a city that formerly had few people living in it

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Comments on urban sprawl

What made you want to look up urban sprawl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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