Santa Barbara, CA’s high score for land mix use—the diversity of jobs, homes, and services within its neighborhoods—helped it land near the top of our recent Measuring Sprawl 2014 report’s rankings for American cities. As Measuring Sprawl 2014 explores, a high overall rating for connectivity and compactness is linked to improved health outcomes, greater economic mobility, and lower combined spending on housing and transportation costs.
Santa Barbara’s outstanding level of land use mixture is the result of 25 years of planning, design, and implementation driven by both community and local government leaders. But the city’s key policies and strategies hold lessons for every community, no matter what size or how far along in the process.
Factor in focus: Land Use Mix
Measuring Sprawl 2014 used four factors to evaluate development: density, land use mix, street connectivity and activity centering. Every major metro area in the country was evaluated on these factors, which were then combined to create a metro area’s overall Sprawl Index score.