What Happens When a Suburb Turns Into a City? Automobile Dependence and Second Order Urban Sprawl In Arlington, Texas




Taylor, Clancy A.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Urban sprawl and automobile dependence often go hand in hand. Interestingly, when sprawling development is coupled with unplanned suburban growth and political preference for the automobile, a suburban town can quickly transform into a car-dependent city. This is the case for Arlington, Texas, which until recently was America’s largest city without public transportation. By tracing Arlington’s political history and patterns of development, this thesis explores how Arlington went from a suburb to a city, and how the municipality’s legacy of automobile dependence may not be disproportionally affecting its oldest and most disadvantaged communities. Geovisualization and spatial analysis show that Arlington’s current geographical distributions of selected socioeconomic status indictors are consistent with the same urban change processes observed in older center cities, which are known to produce patterns of sociospatial inequality and concentrated poverty. Given its lack of reliable public transit, this has implications for urban planning and transportation policy in the suburb-turned-city.



urban sprawl, automobile dependence, urban planning, Arlington, Texas, suburb, urban geography, Honors College


Taylor, C. A. (2015). What happens when a suburb turns into a city? Automobile dependence and second order urban sprawl In Arlington, Texas (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI