City Sprawl Study: Tallahassee Gains Most Compactness In Nation

Jun 12, 2014

The recently built Whole Foods shopping center is an example of Tallahassee's expansion inside city lines.
Credit NAI Talcor

More so than any city in the nation, Tallahassee gained the most "compactness" from 2000 to 2010. That distinction comes from a University of Utah study looking at which cities "sprawled" the most during that time.   

The study by Shima Hamidi and Reid Ewing suggests a goal for cities across the country is to grow more businesses and neighborhoods inside of city lines to  fill in gaps, rather than develop farther from the city center, known as sprawl.  

It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

Tallahassee’s city development and growth is on the national radar.  Not because Tallahassee has grown outwardly, however, but inwardly.  The report scored 162 U.S. urbanized areas on the four-factor Sprawl Index. 

Over a ten-year period, Tallahassee’s rate of compact development  increased the most dramatically, far outpacing  No. 2 Washington, D.C.

Overall, though, the study  finds the  national rate of sprawl has increased while compact growth has decreased.  

The Atlantic's City Lab blog analyzed the data from the study and put together the chart of which cities have grown most compact over time.