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