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Traffic Jam Perspectives on Sprawl in South Carolina By Robert W. Bainbridge April 2004 Assessing the Prospects for Sprawl in South Carolina by Robert W. Bainbridge October 2004


Sprawl Working definition: dispersion of urban uses into the countryside Metropolitan Sprawl out from a central city Corridor Sprawl (East side of Rockies (shown), I-85/Piedmont Corridor) Resort/Retirement Sprawl (no employment base) All need a growth engine

Growth Engines for South Carolina: 

Growth Engines for South Carolina The I-85/Piedmont Corridor: Greenville Spartanburg Anderson CHARLOTTE ATLANTA The Coast: Greater Charleston and the Beach Resorts Greater Columbia Augusta, Aiken, Florence and Greenwood are much smaller

Growth Engines: The Upstate: 

Growth Engines: The Upstate The I-85 Corridor: from Atlanta, GA to Raleigh-Durham, NC Originally: railroads, textiles, and James B. Duke Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Cherokee County were the key industrial sites in South Carolina

Charlotte and Atlanta : 

Charlotte and Atlanta New South: Substantial wealth and prosperity - for some Nationally known for sprawl Outside Perspective: Atlanta and Charlotte will keep spreading outward until they meet in the middle Charlotte already has major impact in Rock Hill and northern tier counties Major challenge from Atlanta is the competition for water Atlanta sprawling far into northern Georgia

Late 20th Century Expansion in the Upstate : 

Late 20th Century Expansion in the Upstate Growth from cities towards the Interstates is easy to see in the Upstate: northwest in Anderson and Spartanburg, east in Greenville I-85, US-29, and the Southern Railway link the corridor Old industry (textiles) shifting to new industry with an International flavor: BMW, Michelin Continuous urbanized area from Anderson to Gaffney

The Edgeless City in the Upstate : 

The Edgeless City in the Upstate New suburban houses on increasingly remote sites Development at Lake Keowee and Jocassee: some owners commute to Atlanta! Few controls on growth in outlying areas Inadequate roads and infrastructure

The Treasure of the Blue Wall : 

The Treasure of the Blue Wall Pressure on the Wilderness Bridge/Jocassee Gorges areas for new development Natural areas on Lake Keowee are disappearing rapidly Scenic Highway 11 threatened Significant efforts for protection of land and resources: Upstate Forever

Growth Engines: The Coast: 

Growth Engines: The Coast Geographical accident: long coastline with great beaches Legacy of Charles Fraser and the invention of resort development Last ten years beginning to push inland away from the beaches Conflict with preservation of environmental resources: ACE Basin, John’s Island Pressure on remaining Gullah culture: Lady’s Island


Low Country Treasures at Risk Henry Middleton’s Nieuport Plantation in St. Peters Parish was a major rice producer. The property is now in upper Beaufort County. Resources include wetlands, wilderness, historical sites


Columbia and the Midlands State Government, Universities, diversified industries, finance and services South Carolina’s largest city Prosperous sprawl to northwest and northeast Industrial, moderate income sprawl in Lexington County


Columbia and the Midlands Broad streets and unified grid Centered on Capitol and USC Strong Shandon area in lower right Rehabilitation and redevelopment of the Congaree Vista The Three Rivers Greenway Emphasis in cities on “Back-to-the-City”efforts, cultural, and quality of life projects, affordable housing

Areas at Risk of Sprawl : 

Areas at Risk of Sprawl Areas within commuting distance of growth engines: 60 miles or more for Charlotte; much less for Florence and Greenwood Most rapid spread along Interstate Highways

Sprawl Threatens Community Character : 

Sprawl Threatens Community Character Summerville faces strong pressure from Charleston: new development has a different character Will Summerville lose its identity? “Flower Town in the Pines”

Interstate Highways : 

Interstate Highways Elloree and Santee benefit from traffic on I-95 Santee: more than 1,000 hotel rooms, less than 1,000 people Two National Golf Courses Failed outlet mall Elloree six miles away: great example of downtown revitalization Elloree, South Carolina

Decline in the Heart of a Growth Engine: Blacksburg : 

Decline in the Heart of a Growth Engine: Blacksburg Just off I-85 but worlds away in spirit New fast food restaurants and gas stations at the interchange

Protected Lands and Rural Decline : 

Protected Lands and Rural Decline Agriculture used to be a major generator of wealth in the state Farming supported active market towns, especially along rail lines Traditional farming fading away rapidly Hogs, chickens, turkeys growing: many with Hispanic workers Much of the railway network has been abandoned Substantial & increasing areas are protected

Courthouse & Railroad Towns : 

Courthouse & Railroad Towns Courthouse Towns: shopping and offices around the courthouse: usually do better, but Manning & St. Matthews struggle Many Railroad towns are virtually abandoned after the rails leave: Willington, Salley, Springfield Barnwell Willington

The Urban Fringe: Waiting for Sprawl to Arrive : 

The Urban Fringe: Waiting for Sprawl to Arrive Ridgeway is just outside the sprawling suburbs of Richland Northeast Little positive change has yet arrived

The Urban Fringe: Waiting for Sprawl to Arrive : 

The Urban Fringe: Waiting for Sprawl to Arrive Initial impact of proximity can be negative as shoppers abandon small-town stores for suburban big boxes Outward spread of industry and offices eventually brings jobs and prospects for prosperity: Swansea is seeing some positive change

Waiting for Sprawl to Arrive : 

Waiting for Sprawl to Arrive Originally a railroad market town Air Base: third back-up landing site for the space shuttle; direct flights to Bosnia during the conflict Workers go three ways to Columbia, Orangeburg, and Aiken North, South Carolina

What is the future for Springfield? : 

What is the future for Springfield? Old railroad market town Off major highways Agricultural decline Housing and commercial abanbonment

The Decline of Tobacco in the Pee Dee : 

The Decline of Tobacco in the Pee Dee No replacement crops are as profitable Too far inland to benefit from the coastal development Many farms abandoned Will there be a buy-out?

Mullins : 

Mullins Originally a stop on the Wilmington & Manchester Railroad In its heyday, Mullins had 44 tobacco warehouses that brought in $ millions every year Only three still operate and are company owned: the great auctions are gone forever Mullins is working hard, but it is an uphill struggle (Community Builders Conference)

Intensive Agriculture : 

Intensive Agriculture Mass-production agriculture helps keep people fed Bad environmental impacts: 5,000 tons of urine and feces per day from hogs in N. C. alone Only Hispanics will work there: Saluda County, SC, is now 25% Hispanic Creates wealth, but who gets it? And at what cost?

Saluda : 

Saluda County seat of Saluda County Turkeys and trees dominate the economy Rapidly growing Hispanic population Best hope is the arrival of SPRAWL from Columbia around Lake Murray The Saluda Hotel was a fancy place at the turn of the century. SCDAP did plans to convert it to a residence for battered women.

When Growth Engines Die: The Decline of Textiles : 

When Growth Engines Die: The Decline of Textiles Over 40 vacant mills around the state: not easily converted to new uses Mill villages were isolated, and corporate paternalism blocked development of civic infrastructure Mill towns struggling to find a new identity

Pacolet : 

Pacolet Where will new jobs come from? Will the towns become bedroom communities? Some riverfront communites have dramatic natural settings. Residents often maintain strong social identification after mills close: does this create a social stigma for the villages? Mill Villages just a couple of miles away from Upstate growth engine, but isolated from progress and prosperity.

Piedmont : 

Piedmont Where will money come from to pay for community improvements? Can the mill towns make a transition to provision of affordable housing and retirement communities?

Conclusions/Hypotheses : 

Conclusions/Hypotheses Sprawl is only a problem in a small portion of the state, and the nation: 5-10% of land area Charleston and Hilton Head/Beaufort/ South Coast: Growth vs. Islands, marsh, wilderness: John’s Island, Berkeley County, Ashley River Road The Upstate and the Blue Ridge No limits on sprawl to south and east Difficult cultural issues in foothills

Conclusions/Hypotheses : 

Conclusions/Hypotheses For most of the state, economic development and job creation are the issues Growth at any cost Even the growth engines (Upstate, Coast) are quite weak by national standards The death of the New South (Textiles) has been devastating Agricultural decline has decimated rural areas

Conclusions/Hypotheses : 

Conclusions/Hypotheses Strategies should be matched to regions * Fight SPRAWL in the south coast and Blue Ridge mountains and foothills * Protect Treasures along the coast and in the mountains * Promote economic development in any form in most of the state * Try to rebuild agriculture

Conclusions/Hypotheses : 

Conclusions/Hypotheses The transformation of agricultural hinterlands to Exurbs is not a bad thing Farms abandoned by bad economics and having no one to farm, not through urban pressure Longer Commutes are increasingly acceptable: 60-80 miles not absurd: Washington D. C. expanding into West Virginia Everyone in SC is within 50 miles of a Wal-Mart

Related Issues: Schools: 

Related Issues: Schools Suburban schools often perceived to be better, partly due to parental involvement Rural schools difficult to sustain, often poor in quality, leading to further rural decline Some inner-city schools hold their own when leaders and parents make them a priority: Greenville High School has come back, Augusta Circle Elementary is excellent Mega-schools require excessive bus routes and driving Large consolidated rural schools lead to a loss of community identity and high costs for school buses

Related Issues: Military Bases and Prisons : 

Related Issues: Military Bases and Prisons Declining military presence, though some such as Parris Island and Fort Jackson prosper Prisons, as at Estill, often do little to benefit local communities: new suburban residents drive to Wal-Mart to shop…. Donaldson Center became strong air-served industrial park Noisette will be an interesting experiment

Problems More Serious Than Sprawl: 

Problems More Serious Than Sprawl The re-construction of agriculture is a top priority * Avoid the agribusiness model; block hog, turkey, and chicken factories * Look to organic farming, specialty crops, alternative crops, wine? * Build nursery businesses * Support urban and suburban gardening

Problems More Serious Than Sprawl : 

Problems More Serious Than Sprawl The main alternative is strategic abandonment of rural areas * Subsidies could be provided for resettlement and re-education * Rural lands could be purchased at minimal cost and be land-banked

An Alternative Research Paradigm: Making Sprawl Better : 

An Alternative Research Paradigm: Making Sprawl Better Lower Richland Town Center (1994): New Urbanism plus environmentally sound planning with conservation areas

Is New Urbanism an Answer? : 

Is New Urbanism an Answer? South Carolina has excellent examples along the coast including I’On, Habersham, NewPoint I’On prices reaching $300 per square foot Mostly suburban or resort locations: Habersham reached by narrow two-lane road More New Urbanist communities are coming, but still a small market share They are still Sprawl, but generally a more attractive form of Sprawl

Better Community Design : 

Better Community Design Frederick Law Olmsted models Earle Draper in Charlotte Randall Arendt’s Conservation Subdivisions Low-impact, sustainable development models Riverside was linked by rail with Chicago

Rediscovering the Public Realm : 

Rediscovering the Public Realm Town of Elloree bought up most of downtown Streetscape improvements Façade rehabilitation (SCDAP) Buildings marketed as music venues, restaurants, specialty shops, bed & breakfast Depends heavily on Santee Elloree, South Carolina

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