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Los Angeles: A smart growth champion

Immigrant population lands nation's densest city on list of biggest urban sprawlers

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Urban sprawl devours more than 2.2 million acres of farmland, forests and wetlands each year. If it continues at this rate, by 2050 the United States will have paved over another 110 million acres of rural land. Atlanta holds the dubious distinction of being the nation's largest "sprawler" after its metropolitan area swelled by more than 700 square miles between 1970 and 1990. Houston's borders grew by more than 630 square miles during the same time period, making it the nation's second-largest sprawling city, according to a Center for Immigration Studies report Outsmarting Smart Growth. The New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Phoenix and Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan areas round out the top 10 list of sprawling cities. The report analyzed the growth patterns of the nation's 100 largest cities and emphasized in its findings in a "conservationists" point of view, which narrowly focused on the amount of land lost to d...