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Sprawl matters: the evolution of fringe land, natural amenities and disposable income in a Mediterranean urban area

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  • Luca Salvati

    () (Council for agricultural research and economics (CREA)
    University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’)

  • Ioannis Gitas

    (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

  • Tullia Valeria Giacomo

    (University of Tuscia)

  • Efthimia Saradakou

    (Hellenic Open University)

  • Margherita Carlucci

    (University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’)

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between land-use changes (1987–2007) and the spatial distribution of the average declared income of resident population in a southern European metropolitan region (Athens, Greece) as a contribution to the analysis of suburbanization processes in the Mediterranean region. To demonstrate that urban expansion is accompanied with multiple modifications in the use of the surrounding non-urban land, we developed a computational approach based on spatial indexes of landscape configuration and proximity as a result of changes in the local socio-spatial structure. Diversity in the use of land surrounding built-up parcels in the Athens’ metropolitan region increased significantly between 1987 and 2007, reflecting a progressive fragmentation of the exurban landscape. The percentage of forests and (high-quality) natural land surrounding built-up parcels increased from 8.1 to 9.4 % between 1987 and 2007. The reverse pattern was observed for (low-quality) sparsely vegetated areas, declining from 65 to 47 %. Large built-up parcels were surrounded by a higher percentage of natural land than small parcels. The largest increase over time in forest and natural land surrounding built-up parcels was observed in municipalities with high per capita declared income, and the reverse pattern was observed for sparse vegetation. Our results demonstrate that scattered urban expansion determines a polarization in suburban areas with high-quality and low-quality natural amenities. Sprawl increases economic inequality and socio-spatial disparities contributing to a spatially unbalanced distribution of natural amenities with higher consumption of high-quality land.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Salvati & Ioannis Gitas & Tullia Valeria Giacomo & Efthimia Saradakou & Margherita Carlucci, 2017. "Sprawl matters: the evolution of fringe land, natural amenities and disposable income in a Mediterranean urban area," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 727-743, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:endesu:v:19:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10668-015-9742-y
    DOI: 10.1007/s10668-015-9742-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Muhammad Adil Rauf & Olaf Weber, 0. "Urban infrastructure finance and its relationship to land markets, land development, and sustainability: a case study of the city of Islamabad, Pakistan," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-19.

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