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Urban sprawl or suburban sprawl describes the expansion of human populations away from central urban areas into low-density, monofunctional and usually car-dependent communities, in a process called suburbanization. In addition to describing a particular form of urbanization, the term also relates to the social and environmental consequences associated with this development. In Continental Europe the term "peri-urbanisation" is often used to denote similar dynamics and phenomena, although the term urban sprawl is currently being used by the European Environment Agency. There is widespread disagreement about what constitutes sprawl and how to quantify it. For example, some commentators measure sprawl only with the average number of residential units per acre in a given area. But others associate it with decentralization (spread of population without a well-defined centre), discontinuity (leapfrog development, as defined below), segregation of uses, and so forth.
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