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How city architecture and urban sprawl affect both domestic canines and wild animals

Looking at today’s homes in the United States and other similarly developed countries, we can see two growing trends that mark the main residential situations in the country. These do not include isolated or short-term tenant residential areas such as farms, ranches, and trailer parks. Most Americans live in a dense city or urban setting or in expanded outer cities that contain a network of suburban neighborhoods. I will investigate the pros and cons of these two types and their impacts on humans, wild and domestic animals, and the environment. The term “deforestation” generally refers to the removal of a forest or trees to gain access to land that is then converted for non-forest use. This term often goes hand in hand with the terms “urban / suburban sprawl, urbanization, and suburbanization”, which generally describe the continued expansion of human populations outside of central areas (cities) in highly extended and dependent suburban communities or towns. vehicles. . These suburban cities are the most obvious as you fly over any part of Southern California, and each year developers create more of these cookie cutter houses. Why? There is a great demand for large houses because our society teaches us that our possessions is what measures our wealth and value. The perpetuation of a pure capitalist mentality is what allows the continuation of development. Due to this deforestation and urban sprawl, non-domesticated animals are forced to leave their natural habitat and run into residential areas and roads in search of food, shelter and water. However, there is another side to this coin. Due mainly to greed and unfounded fear, apartments in the most congested areas of the city are extremely expensive and often have animal restrictions. This would mean that those who live in this area would be less likely to have as many pets, if any. This also means that those who already have domestic pets (particularly dogs) are less likely to move to the city center. These cookie cutter homes provide certain features that city residential buildings do not meet. These features include more privacy, a greater sense of security, and obviously more space for families and pets. Most of those who live in the suburbs are members of a larger family and are much more likely to have larger pets, that is, larger dog breeds. The human mortality rate has decreased significantly since the introduction of modern medicine, which means that there are more people at home. The architects face the problem of developing solutions to humanely, ethically and reasonably house this growing population in a sanitary residential home that will not add to the growing problem of deforestation and global warming. This problem is particularly complicated due to the number of variables involved. Just as there is no clear variable, there is also no clear solution. I will address the issue by researching the works of urban designers, surveying individuals and pet owners, and defining several central themes. Physical, cultural, legal and economic issues. Finally, I will briefly explore various possible solutions that I discussed with various licensed architects.

According to Howard Frumkin, author of “Urban Sprawl and Public Health”, the act of developing these suburban cities negatively affects the lives of people and animals. Expansion is essentially a decrease in proximity, which means that the area has fewer destinations and less variety of uses. Zoning laws that only allow a single use for certain areas are called Euclidean zoning laws. In a way, they ensure that residential buildings are not built alongside industrial buildings, which is a positive aspect. However, they also perpetuate the widespread problem by not allowing or restricting the creation or adaptation of multipurpose buildings, such as a living space above a business. Zoning laws set a stage where people depend on motorized vehicles to travel to work, school, the store, and shopping malls. This means that it is often necessary to widen the roads to account for the greatest amount of traffic. This expansion also affects the natural environment, leaving oils and other debris on the roads that eventually end up in the oceans, and more cars in use means a greater carbon footprint. The argument is that people could use public transportation. The problem is that in large suburban cities, public transportation is not only time consuming and unreliable, it is also unprofitable. There simply aren’t enough passengers to make it worth it. “In one study, in the Seattle area, car commuting began to decrease when the employment density reached about thirty employees per acer, and fell sharply to levels above seventy-five. A similar pattern was evident for travel. Shopping”.

When conducting surveys on a dark topic like urban sprawl, which is not exactly a well-known topic, I needed to make sure that the people I was approaching understood the questions I was asking. I tried to choose a wide range of demographics to include: fellow students, clients, family, friends, and a blind survey that I conducted with some random strangers online. I started with a basic questionnaire to determine which questions I should use to continue my research. I started by creating five categories in which I can place a person. These are: having pets / living at home, having pets / living in the city, not having pets / living at home, not having pets / living in the city, and finally not having pets but want a pet / lives in the City. For this study, I focused primarily on dogs due to the fact that they require more attention, space, and training. Those who did not have pets and did not want pets were used as a conflict group (a group of people with opposing views). I asked a set of questions to ask both the pro-pet group and the anti-pet group to get a general understanding of what their thought processes were without giving them an idea of ​​my own opinions. Then I interviewed several architects to find out their views on the effects that dense cities and suburban cities have on domestic and wild life. I had written down my questions and recorded every architect he or she has answered after hearing the question the first time. Urban sprawl is a problem, I think, many urban architects and designers are seeing right now. The problem has more to do with social anxiety fueled by the idea of ​​adjusting to denser cities and having less space and privacy. Architects now have to consider how to design a building or community that will appeal to those who are used to suburban sprawl. The challenge is to essentially change the mindset of an entire generation to slowly return to the cities. I grew up in a suburban area in Texas. The state of Texas is one of the biggest criminals when it comes to developing expanding communities. I grew up having to take a 40-minute bus ride to school every morning because my “city” did not have a high school. I have lived in California for seven years and realized how ridiculous it is and the waste it created. However, I am also not interested in living downtown although I know it is better for the environment. I took an urban planning course and came to the conclusion that city life must be feasible for people with many different lifestyles and the animals that accompany them.

From the hundred people I surveyed, I learned that the percentage of those who lived in the suburbs and had pets was almost equal to the percentage of people who lived in the city and wanted to have pets. Which struck me as an interesting coincidence. I asked each person who asked these key questions.

  1. Do you have a dog or other large pet?

  2. Would you consider moving to the city center with your pet? Why or why not?

  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a bigger pet in town?

  4. Would you describe the area you live in as “city” or “suburban”?

  5. Would you consider having a large pet (like a dog) while living at your current address? Why or why not?

  6. How does it feel to share a wall or fence with an animal?

  7. What are some possible improvements that architects should consider to alleviate current difficulties and persuade more people with pets to live in denser areas?

For those with large dogs or pets, the common or similar answers to questions two, three are as follows:

2) No or probably not. They have a large energetic pet or multiple pets and are concerned about lack of space, disturbing neighbors or other people, the dog will not have as much time with nature.

3) The advantage is that pets adapt to city life if they are exposed to it early and receive adequate training. They have more time to walk and enjoy with their pets because they do not have to travel. The downside is that there are not as many places where the dog can enjoy without a leash and some businesses still don’t allow pets.

For those who live in an urban environment:

5) No or probably not. They want to wait until they have a bigger house with a patio or more time to spend with the animal. They currently don’t have the time or money to walk and train any animals.

6) I don’t care or it’s annoying. Some people shared that they had pet dander allergies, fear of dogs, or specific dog breeds, and others expressed general disgust at the noise and smells that certain pets created.

Finally, the responses given by all the volunteers probed:

7) Many people requested more facilities for private and semi-private pets. Others called for regulations to be made to allow only large or energetic pets on the lower deck to reduce the noise problem. Many pet owners requested more pet spaces in the city.

Also, I interviewed several architects with a separate list of questions.

  • What are your general thoughts on centralization in cities versus urbanization?

Katherine Herbst: “I am a big fan of densification. I think the further we separate, the more impact we have on resources, the more impact we have on habitat … it’s a general degradation of the environment”, “fuel, garbage, sewage … they become more difficult to manage, I think the more it spreads, the harder it will be to manage all these services. “

  • How do you think each one impacts wildlife? What about pets?

Katherine Herbst: “I am really interested in how wildlife really adapts to urbanization … There are creatures that are incredibly adaptive”, “you have to understand that animals are wild, they are not pets and they are not toys and they just have” In San Diego we have a great multi-species act that allows animals to move from the coast to the mountains in a kind of uninterrupted landscape. I think it’s a pretty smart way to plan a city. “

Domestic: “I think an adaptation occurs”, “I think it is a question of how you want to interact with animals … people adapt to urban environments if their choice of life is to have animals”, “I think we anthropomorphize” We believe that a dog cannot be in a city because there is no place for it to run. But I think that’s our reading. “

  • Is this more of a physical or social problem?

Hector perez: “The question is more about how we legislate animal husbandry … at least we have to teach people the differences in their decisions”, “We need to control the population as much as possible so that we treat those who are born as humanly as possible “”

  • Your thoughts on how we as architects can best accommodate those who choose to have large breeds or multiple pets?

Hector perez: “I think dog park areas … are very important. On a smaller scale, the way we design our housing units to be made of materials that are resistant, decrease noise between floors when you have stacking units so that its paws don’t make as much noise, “” I have a building across the street and have been fairly open in allowing people to bring their pets until recently it has become a matter of sound when you have a little one. .. hyperactive animal “”. In retrospect, I should have thought better to say animals … pets should not be allowed on the second floor … Having a pet on a carpet [area] how to become a big problem “

I am defining problems as those that involve physical space, resources, and health. I think the most prominent problem between centralizing and expanding is social or cultural resistance. I feel like that term would encompass most of our impact on our environment. I think if breeders were limited to the number of puppies per year they were allowed to produce, if “puppy mills” were closed for being inhumane, and if pet owners had more responsibility for their pets, domesticated animals would not. they would have to. suffer or be negatively impacted by the centralization or densification of our existing cities. I believe that architects, urban planners, and engineers can develop reasonable accommodation for families and pet owners if we begin to offer more interest in multipurpose buildings and loosen Euclidean zoning laws.