Knoxville: Medium-Sized City (or Metro Area?) of Sprawl

The latest city ranking that’s unbecoming to Knoxville, Smart Growth America’s “Measuring Sprawl” study, is at least interesting.

On the list of 221 cities ranked by relative sprawl, New York, San Francisco, and Miami are at the top of the list. The bottom three (or most sprawly) are all places much closer to home: Tennessee’s fastest-growing city, Clarksville; Atlanta; and Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton, N.C. In fact, more than half of the bottom 20 are in our region, Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia. Knoxville shows at number 199, which makes it 23rd worst of all metro areas in the nation. In the category of medium-sized cities, Knoxville’s listed as the seventh-most-sprawling. Smart Growth America’s methodology is extremely complicated, but it should be noted that they’re talking about metro areas, not cities, per se. The city of Knoxville accounts for just about one-fifth of Metro Knoxville, which includes a couple of mostly rural counties.

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