Sprawl vs. Open Space - A Tale of Two Cities
Updated: Oct 27, 2019
Pamplona, like Bozeman, is a city with a strong agricultural tradition (hence its annual "running of the bulls"). Pamplona, unlike Bozeman, is keeping its "working lands in working hands" by growing in rather than out.
Pamplona's population is four times Bozeman's; it’s housing is affordable (rent in Pamplona is about half the cost of rent in Bozeman); and, the city has no high-rises (meaning you can see the nearby mountains from points throughout the city). Despite being four times our population, Pamplona is half Bozeman's land mass.
If we took Pamplona's playbook, we could accommodate 100% of projected growth for next 20 years within Bozeman's existing city limits—and still only be 25% of Pamplona's density. Pamplona maintains its local food production and open space by choosing to be a compact, livable city.
As a member of the Bozeman City Planning board I have advocated for the development of a “focus inward” growth policy that prioritizes infill and a gradual increase of density across existing developed areas ahead of expansion or annexation. 20% of land within Bozeman City Limits is vacant or undeveloped. Accessory Dwelling Units are a key component of this policy, and could significantly add to our housing stock by adding additional living units to existing neighborhoods and parcels. Ending exclusionary zoning will open the doors to gradual increases in land productivity across the entire city. My housing plans would focus on adding housing downtown, midtown, and gradually adding density to existing neighborhoods—rather than concentrating growth on the city’s perimeter, far from daily destinations.
The screenshots below show the exact same amount of land area.
Pamplona demonstrates what planners call "crisp edges"—achieving urban density to the edge of the city, then stopping. Bozeman, by contrast, is slowly filling our valley with low-density development. For the same land area, Pamplona has both more people and more agricultural land.
Sprawl is a choice. Will you join me in November in rejecting sprawl and building a livable city that keeps agricultural production in Gallatin Valley? Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter and subscribe to receive updates!