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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