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California: The best of sprawl, the worst of sprawl

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It probably comes as no surprise to Southern Californians that the Los Angeles and Orange County region ranks as one of the nation’s worst examples of urban sprawl, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution.

Only Detroit, Chicago and Dallas have more spread-out employment bases. In the L.A. area, 65.6% of jobs are located more than 10 miles from the city center. The national average is 45%.

Up the Central Valley, Bakersfield looks a lot more like the rest of the United States, with 43% of jobs located within three miles of the center of the city.

The Brookings report, titled Job Sprawl Revisited: The Changing Geography of Metropolitan Employment, scores how jobs are distributed within urban areas. The report contends that greater proximity between urban cores and job locations promotes better land use and more efficient commuting.

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