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Measuring urban sprawl, coalescence, and dispersal: a case study of Pordenone, Italy


  • Federico Martellozzo
  • Keith C Clarke


A critical challenge of global change is managing the uncontrolled spread of cities into their surrounding rural and other land. The phenomenon of urban ‘sprawl’ is well known, but it remains controversial because there are no universal definitions about its etiology, nor of the causes and variables related to it. The goal of this study is to depict the temporal trend of sprawl, so as to identify a ‘sprawl signature’ and its evolution for the Italian Province of Pordenone focusing exclusively on spatial dispersion features. Data were compiled from multitemporal remote sensing and used to delimit urban expansion over time. We aim to describe the spatiotemporal patterns associated with urban sprawl using the perspective of the cyclical urban growth theory and focusing on measures that can detect the degree of spatial dispersion during time related to sprawl both in past and projected urban forms. Exactly how the spatiotemporal patterns of urban growth are identified is crucial for urban planners, as knowledge of them allows more efficient calibration of policies to control land-use change in order to satisfy specific needs of the population and prevent the risks and costs related to sprawl.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Martellozzo & Keith C Clarke, 2011. "Measuring urban sprawl, coalescence, and dispersal: a case study of Pordenone, Italy," Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(6), pages 1085-1104, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envirb:v:38:y:2011:i:6:p:1085-1104

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    Cited by:

    1. Xin Wu & Peng Cui, 2016. "A Study of the Time–Space Evolution Characteristics of Urban–Rural Integration Development in a Mountainous Area Based on ESDA-GIS: The Case of the Qinling-Daba Mountains in China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(11), pages 1-17, October.
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:5:p:422:d:69184 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:297:d:66431 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Deng Chen & Yanxia Wang & Fu Ren & Qingyun Du, 2016. "Spatio-Temporal Differentiation of Urban-Rural Equalized Development at the County Level in Chengdu," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(5), pages 1-17, April.
    5. Federico Amato & Biagio Antonio Maimone & Federico Martellozzo & Gabriele Nolè & Beniamino Murgante, 2016. "The Effects of Urban Policies on the Development of Urban Areas," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(4), pages 1-22, March.

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