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Journal Articles disP - The Planning Review Year : 2021

What’s in a Name? That Which We Call Sprawl

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Abstract

What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet", Juliet says in William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet (Act II, scene I). Sprawl is undoubtedly not a rose, but as Richard Harris and Charlotte Vorms (2017) recall, the term is by no means neutral and is difficult to replace. It has an obvious moral content. When used to refer to a person, sprawl means "an ungainly or carelessly relaxed position in which one's arms and legs are spread out" 1. By extension, the term also refers to urban development "spread out over a large area in an untidy or irregular way". Controlling sprawl, therefore, involves rectifying a situation characterised by sloppiness. Fighting sprawl involves correcting the production of urbanisation, particularly on the fringes, where the city is growing and spreading. Hence the title of this special issue: the debate on sprawl refers to the more fundamental question of growth control. As highlighted by Alex Schafran (2019), political questions lie behind the struggle to control urban sprawl: who controls the development of the city fringes? What are the goals? What problems, compromises and alliances are there between the different actors involved?
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halshs-03529733 , version 1 (17-01-2022)

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Éric Charmes, Max Rousseau. What’s in a Name? That Which We Call Sprawl: Introduction to the Special Issue: Losing Growth Control. disP - The Planning Review, 2021, 57 (3), pp.22-32. ⟨10.1080/02513625.2021.2026648⟩. ⟨halshs-03529733⟩
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