American Makeover Episode 1: SPRAWLANTA

In Development by Jef Nickerson1 Comment

More at American Makeover

About the Author

Jef Nickerson


Jef is Greater City Providence's co-founder, editor, and publisher. He grew up on Cape Cod and lived in Boston; Portland, Maine; and New York before settling in Providence. In addition to urbanism, Jef is interested in art, design, and ice cream. Please feel free to contact Jef if you have any question or comments about Greater City Providence.


  1. Spawlvidence is nowhere near as extreme as Sprawltlanta. What Spawlvidence has in common with Sprawlanta is that in most parts of the metropolitan region traditional mixed-use development and traditional street widths for new streets is not permitted. In the city traditional lot widths and sizes, yard dimensions and density are non-conforming with current “standards.” It’s illegal to build a traditional New England village in Rhode Island. Rhode Island’s old villages don’t comply with current zoning regulations in most towns. What’s old is a non-complying exception that requires special zoning board review and approval for everything, whereas most conventional sprawl development is by-right requiring nothing special because it’s what the zoning is written for. Despite the best efforts of land-use and New Urbanist lobbying groups little has changed with land-use regulations in Rhode Island’s cities and towns. The status quo prevails, which is suburban sprawl.

Leave a Comment