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N.J. has the best of sprawl … and the worst of sprawl

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in Human Resources

When it comes to job sprawl, New Jersey has its own “Tale of Two Cities,” with urban communities in Northern Jersey doing better than their counterparts in Southern Jersey.

The Brookings Institution report titled “Job Sprawl Revisited: The Changing Geography of Metropolitan Employment” scores how jobs are distributed within metropolitan areas. High rankings go to areas where jobs are concentrated in city centers, allowing for simpler commuting patterns and better land use.

By those measures, the New York/Long Island/Northern New Jersey metropolitan area ranked second in the country (just behind Virginia Beach, Va.) with 34.8% of its jobs located within three miles of the city center.

On the other hand, the Philadelphia/Camden, N.J./Wilmington, Del., metro area ranked the fifth worst in the nation. In that region, 63.7% of jobs are located more than 10 miles from the city center.

Sprawl has been fast and furious in the Philadelphia region. The report lists it as one of the 53 most rapidly decentralizing metropolitan areas from 1998 to 2006.

Only one large metropolitan area (Milwaukee) gained jobs in its urban core during that period. 

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