Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "urban sprawl" ...

  • Sprawl Developer Won't Take No For an Answer

    This was a two-person investigation into political corruption, environmental damage, public danger and regulatory capture presented by a developer’s attempt to build a suburban sprawl project in rural San Diego County. We spent two months diving into lawsuits, environmental reports, wildfire warnings and campaign finance disclosures to understand how billion-dollar real estate developments take shape outside of public eye, even if they contradict adopted regulatory guidelines. It resulted in an elected official, poised to enrich himself by voting in favor of the project, being forced to recuse himself from voting, which led to the project’s indefinite suspension.
  • Clean and Green

    Taking advantage of a state program designed to limit suburban sprawl and preserve open space, Pennsylvania's Allegheny County has been providing tax breaks for country clubs, developers, and owners of million-dollar estates. Under the law, which allows for property assessment breaks, county assessment officials have approved hundreds of new applications since 2003, increasing the number of properties in the program by 50 percent. In return for the tax break, owners had agreed to open their properties to the public. But land owners interviewed for the story asserted their right to declare their homes private property. In addition, the investigation discovered that 60 properties - 5 percent of those in the program - have unpaid taxes totaling more than $100,000. In the wake of the initial story, a followup reported that the government declared the properties open to the public, since they received a tax break like public parks.
  • Rural water

    Rapid, largely unregulated growth in rural Arizona threatens to overwhelm limited water resources, exposing entire communities to shortages and leaving thousands of homeowners with no guarantee of a stable water supply. The risk stems in part from a finite resource that is already overtaxed, but the real danger arises from the inability of the state and local governments to manage water and growth together.
  • In The Hood

    The Community Reinvestment Act is under attack by US Senator Phil Gramm who derides the law as a way to encourage extortion of banks to invest in local communities. People like Steve Culberston, of the Frankford Group Ministry, sees the law as a way to rebuild or support failing urban areas. Frankel anaylzes one of the first major mega bank mergers to see if CRA did what it was supposed to or not.
  • The Plot Thickens

    Urban sprawl is scaring some people who cherish their community gardens. Jargon reports on how people are trying to fight it and how developers are trying to qualm said fears.
  • Private Lives

    Waldron is a small island fighting amongst themselves over their vision of their community. There's no power, no stores, no running water. How they live and and how they want to continue living is an ongoing debate.
  • Visions of Vine Street

    Visions of Vine street is a one-hour documentary on Cincinnati's deteriorating urban core. WCPO-TV tells the story of "Vine Street, the crumbling centerpiece of a neighborhood called Over the Rhine, ground zero for the April race riots that attracted national media attention."
  • A Flood of Problems

    A Columbia Missourian investigation reveals the neglect of local city and county officials in planning and handling storm water floods amidst new development. Boone County and city of Columbia systems for handling planning subdivisions place "little emphasis on storm water's potential to cause flooding or damage water quality."
  • The Buses Don't Stop Here Anymore

    The American Prospect looks at the deteriorating quality of mass transit in America. The reporter points to statistics that show that fewer and fewer people use public transportation. "The falloff in bus ridership, which is much steeper than that in train ridership, is directly linked to declines in bus service," the Prospect reports. The story examines how some cities have revived and expanded their transit systems and ridership despite suburban sprawl. Others have cut off transit service on all but the most cost-effective routes, thus reducing the value of the transit system.
  • Mass Destruction

    Boston Magazine examines the state of New England, which has experienced tremendous growth in recent years. As Stephen J. Simurda writes: "Eastern New England is becoming one urban sprawl. There are too many cars for the roads. There won't be enough fresh water for the houses that are already being built along I-495. The landfills are full...And while many of us have paid little attention, a small but growing band of planners, environmentalists and state officials has bad news for us. 'There's a good chance,' one says, 'that we're going to strangle ourselves.'" Simurda's investigation reveals that Massachusett's eco-system is out-of-wack due to this rampant urban growth.