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A cul-de-sac ends among pads for new home construction left dormant in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images.

The cul-de-sac has been a staple of urban development — and families' real estate wish lists — for the last 50 years. Now some cities are banning them from new developments.

Why it matters: Street-network sprawl determines a city's energy footprint.

  • Researchers have found that city and suburban streets have become less connected in ways that favor car travel over more climate-friendly options.
  • Grid-like streets are better for walking, cycling and public transportation, while cul-de-sacs, three-way-intersections and gated communities with "one-way-out" routes encourage vehicle use.

What's happening: City planners are encouraging denser street grids in new communities and redevelopments, or they could place a tax on three-way-intersections, or a "cul-de-tax," to change street design habits, researchers Christopher Barrington-Leigh and Adam Millard-Ball write in a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • In Denmark, bicycle and pedestrian paths are being integrated into communities to connect otherwise disconnected streets.
  • National planning guidance in the United Kingdom called for connected streets over dead-end designs.
  • After a 2001 earthquake in Bhuj, India, planners tried to interconnect all cul-de-sacs to avoid dead-end streets being blocked by fallen rubble.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Chauvin defense closing: "Does not have to prove his innocence"

Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson opened his closing argument on Monday by reminding the jury that Derek Chauvin "does not have to prove his innocence."

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial is seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades.

Merrick Garland: Domestic terror is "still with us"

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In his first major speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned the nation Monday to remain vigilant against the rising threat of domestic extremism.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat" to the nation this year, according to U.S. intelligence. Garland has already pledged to crack down on violence linked to white supremacists and right-wing militia groups.

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