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In examples of this phenomenon, such as Los Angeles, California, the Washington DC metro area, and Atlanta, Georgia, new development is often low-density, where the metropolis grows outward instead of 'upward' as with higher densities. Environmentalists and an increasing number of urban planners disapprove of urban sprawl as a sustainable model of growth for several reasons.

The term "Los Angelization" is also sometimes used for urban sprawl, though some believe it is an inaccurate term. Los Angeles was one of the world's first low density urbanized areas, as a result of achieving wide automobile ownership long before others, but has become more dense over the past half-century, principally due to small lot zoning and a high demand for housing due to population growth. According to United States Census Bureau data, the Los Angeles urbanized area (area of continuous urban development) increased its density by one-half from 1950 to 2000. In 2000, the Los Angeles urbanized area was the most dense urbanized area in the United States, at 7,068 persons per square mile. This compares to second place San Francisco at 6,127 and New York at 5,309. There is often confusion about this fact, since core densities in New York are considerably higher than in Los Angeles. The higher density of Los Angeles is the result of much higher suburban population densities, which are nearly as high as Paris suburban densities.

See also: Wikipedia Urban Sprawl

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