What does Exurban mean?
Exurban (semi-rural) areas have population densities of 40 to 160 people per square mile. This is greater than in rural areas, but less than in suburban areas. Exurban development has become increasingly common throughout the U.S. in recent decades. Click here for more information about landscape classes.
Most of the Rivanna basin is exurban. In exurban Rivanna, forest cover averages 70%, and there are 17 acres for every house. This amount of disturbance may seem mild, yet more than half of exurban streams failed Virginia’s biological stream health standard.
Rural and exurban streams decline rapidly with increased development or deforestation. In urban areas, stream health is already poor. Therefore, urban streams do not respond dramatically to additional development.
Above: 40 acres of exurban landscape. In many parts of the basin, exurbia is characterized by residences, often on large lots, interspersed with grazed pasture, hayfields, forest, and the occasional vineyard or orchard.
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