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Crisis and the city: profiling urban growth under economic expansion and stagnation


  • Luca Salvati

    () (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA)
    University of Rome ’La Sapienza’)

  • Adele Sateriano

    (Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA))

  • Eftathios Grigoriadis

    (University of Rome ’La Sapienza’)


Abstract Economic crises have influenced urban growth altering building cycles and re-shaping house and labour markets as a consequence of increased socioeconomic disparities. In southern Europe, one of the most affected regions by the 2007–2008 global crisis, evidence on the recession’s impact on urban growth characteristics and directions are still occasional and restricted to local contexts. This study contributes to this issue by identifying similarities and differences in short-term urban expansion before and during recession. Population growth over 2000–2007 and 2008–2014 was assessed in 235 urban districts and municipalities of Rome metropolitan region, Italy. Local-scale changes in the distribution of resident population are considered a reliable indicator of recent growth trends at the city scale and were compared with evidence from previous studies exploring trends in settlement and land-use indicators. Local-scale population distribution showed relevant differences in the time intervals investigated. While early-1990s depopulation of some central districts continued over 2000–2007, demographic re-polarization was observed especially over 2008–2014 in an increasing number of inner districts. At the same time, suburban growth occurred in different spatial directions and speed over the two periods. Our results identify a more rapid growth rate and a higher spreading of population over space during 2000–2007 compared to 2008–2014, identifying a trend towards population densification and settlement re-compacting in the last years. Our results corroborate previous evidence from other southern European urban agglomerations bringing insights on the debate over the future development of sprawling cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Luca Salvati & Adele Sateriano & Eftathios Grigoriadis, 2016. "Crisis and the city: profiling urban growth under economic expansion and stagnation," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 329-342, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:lsprsc:v:9:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s12076-015-0160-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s12076-015-0160-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Xuefei Ren, 2015. "City power and urban fiscal crises: the USA, China, and India," International Journal of Urban Sciences, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 73-81, March.
    2. Pasquale De Muro & Salvatore Monni & Pasquale Tridico, 2011. "Knowledge‐Based Economy and Social Exclusion: Shadow and Light in the Roman Socio‐Economic Model," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(6), pages 1212-1238, November.
    3. Eleonora Patacchini, 2008. "Local analysis of economic disparities in Italy: a spatial statistics approach," Statistical Methods & Applications, Springer;Società Italiana di Statistica, vol. 17(1), pages 85-112, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luca Salvati & Giuseppe Venanzoni & Pere Serra & Margherita Carlucci, 2016. "Scattered or polycentric? Untangling urban growth in three southern European metropolitan regions through exploratory spatial data analysis," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 57(1), pages 1-29, July.
    2. repec:spr:lsprsc:v:10:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s12076-016-0180-8 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Crisis; Sprawl; Building cycle; Multivariate analysis; Southern Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • C38 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Classification Methdos; Cluster Analysis; Principal Components; Factor Analysis
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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