A new study ranks the Nashville region among the worst in the nation for urban sprawl. According to Smart Growth America and the University of Utah, Nashville is near the very bottom on a list of 221 metro areas for sprawl. Clarksville and the Tri-Cities area of Northeast Tennessee also rank low.
The report uses Census data to create a “Sprawl Index” based on residential and employment density, the concentration of businesses in downtown areas, and the mixture of jobs, homes and services in neighborhoods. A lower score indicates higher amounts of sprawl.
When looking at areas with a population of one million or more, Nashville ranks only behind Atlanta. Memphis also scores low on the Sprawl Index.
On the opposite end, the study says New York, San Francisco, and Atlantic City are the most “compact and connected” metro areas in the U.S.