ACT Reading OG Test 3 - Passage II

Questions 11-20 are based on the following passage.

SOCIAL STUDIES: This passage is adapted from Richard Moe's article "Mindless Madness Called Sprawl," based on a speech he gave on November 30, 1996, in Fresno, California (©1996 by Richard Moe).
[br/]At the time he gave the speech, Moe was president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Drive down any highway leading into any town in

the country, and what do you see? Fast-food outlets,

office parks and shopping malls rising out of vast

barren plains of asphalt. Residential subdivisions
5 spreading like inkblots obliterating forests and farms in

their relentless march across the landscape. Cars

moving sluggishly down the broad ribbons of pavement

or halting in frustrated clumps at choked intersections.

You see communities drowning in a destructive, soul-
10 less, ugly mess called sprawl.
Many or us have developed a frightening form of

selective blindness that allows us to pass by the

appalling mess without really seeing it. We've allowed

our communities to be destroyed bit by bit, and most of
15 us have shrugged off this destruction as "the price of

Development that destroys communities isn't

progress. It's chaos. And it isn't inevitable, it's merely

easy. Too many developers follow standard formulas,
20 and too many government entities have adopted laws

and .policies that constitute powerful incentives for

Why is an organization like the National Trust for

Historic Preservation so concerned about sprawl?
25 We're concerned because sprawl devastates older com­-

munities, leaving historic buildings and neighborhoods

underused, poorly maintained or abandoned. We've

learned that we can't hope to revitalize these communi-

ties without doing something to control the sprawl that
30 keeps pushing further and further out from the center.
But our concern goes beyond that, because preser­-

vation. today is about more than bricks and mortar.

There's a growing body of grim evidence to support our

belief that the destruction of traditional downtowns and
35 older neighborhoods-places that people care about-is

corroding the very sense of community that helps bind

us together as a people and as a nation.
One form of sprawl-retail development that

transforms roads into strip malls-is frequently spurred
40 on by discount retailers, many of whom are now con­-

centrating on the construction of superstores with more

than 200,000 square feet of space. In many small

towns, a single new superstore may have more retail

space than the entire downtown business district. When
45 a store like that opens, the retail center of gravity shifts

away from Main Street. Downtown becomes a ghost

Sprawl's other most familiar form-spread-out

residential subdivisions that "leapfrog" from the urban
50 fringe into the countryside-is driven largely by the

Amencan dream of a detached home in the middle of a

grassy lawn. Developers frequently claim they can

build more "affordable" housing on the edge of town­-

but "affordable" for whom?
55 The developer's own expenses may be less, and

the home buyer may find the prices attractive-but who

picks up the extra costs of fire and police protection,

new roads and new utility infrastructure in these out­-

lying areas? We all do, in the form of higher taxes for
60 needless duplication of services and infrastructure that

already exist in older parts of our cities and towns
People who say that sprawl is merely the natural

product of marketplace forces at work fail to recognize

that the game isn't being played on a level field, Gov-
65 ernment at every level is riddled with policies that man­-

date or encourage sprawl.
By prohibiting mixed uses and mandating inordi­-

nate amounts of parking and unreasonable setback

requirements, most current zoning laws make it impos-
70 sible-even illegal-to create the sort of compact

walkable environment that attracts us to older neighbor-

hoods and historic communities all over the world.

These codes are a major reason why 82 percent of all

trips in the United States are taken by car. The average
75 American household now allocates more than 18 per­-

cent of its budget to transportation expenses, most of

which are auto-related. That's more than it spends for

food and three times more than it spends for health

80 Our communities should be shaped by choice, not

by chance. One of the most effective ways to reach this

goal is to insist on sensible land-use planning. The way

we zone and design our communities either opens up or

forecloses alternatives to the automobile. Municipali-
85 ties should promote downtown housing and mixed-use

zoning that reduce the distances people must travel

between home and work. The goal should be an inte­-

grated system of planning decisions and regulations

that knit communities together instead of tearing them
90 apart, We should demand land-use planning that

exhibits a strong bias in favor of existing communities.

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Question 11 The principal aim of the passage can best be classified as