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Development Scenarios for Eastern European Cities and Regions in the New Europe


  • Valentina Sagris


  • Marjo Kasanko


  • Elisabetta Genovese


  • Carol Lavalle



In this paper we focus on urban growth dynamics of Eastern European cities and regions in the past and in the new Europe. This work is a part of on-going research in the field of urban and regional development, carried out in Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission. Eastern European cities experienced similar and very turbulent historical and political development during 20th century. The policies during the communist period with planned economy has clearly reflected in the land use pattern development, e.g. the absence of large suburbs and underdeveloped transport networks around cities. In contrast to other European cities, no or very few commercial zones and commercial centres were built in suburban areas. In addition, satellite cities were built only on a limited scale. With the collapse of communist regimes cities and regions in Eastern Europe have entered into a new phase of urbanisation, which changes dramatically land use patterns. The liberalization of economy and the membership of the EU has led to the growing involvement to the European market and EU development schemes (e.g. TEN/T, ERDF, etc.). In spite of the expected decrease of population in the new EU countries the average gross domestic product is projected to triple and the number of households per capita is projected to double between 2000 and 2030 (EEA, 2005/4). Among the consequences of socio-economic development the continuous growth of urban areas can be foreseen. What shapes urban sprawl will take and will it cause new threads to sustainability remains to be seen. In this paper we focus on two study cases (1) the Dresden – Prague transport corridor in Germany and in the Czech Republic (Barredo et al, 2005) and (2) the Harjumaa region and the city of Tallinn in Estonia. The objective of this work is to test the impact of diverse economic development trends on urbanisation processes. Several development scenarios are produced in order to model the spatial pattern of urban land use. The MOLAND urban and regional growth simulation model (Lavalle et al, 2004), based on “cellular automata†(CA), is a key instrument in the forecasting land use development. The model operates at two levels. At the micro- level, the CA-based model determines the fate of individual land use cells based on the type of the activities in their neighbourhood. At the macro- level, various additional factors such as overall land use demand, effects of the transportation network as well as legislative, environmental and institutional characteristics (e.g. environmental protection, zoning) constrain the behaviour of the CA-model. This approach allowed us to integrate “physical†, environmental, socio-economic development as well as institutional aspect of territorial development. The scenarios offer a useful approach to analysing and understanding urban land use dynamics and can also serve for landscape management at the local and regional scales, complementing existing policies and programmes. In both study cases we evaluate the impact newly developed motorways’ supported by EU Structural Funds. Very important feature of Dresden-Prague corridor is the extreme flood events in 2002. The increasing vulnerability to natural hazards due to rapid urban development in flood-prone area is also discussed in the paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Valentina Sagris & Marjo Kasanko & Elisabetta Genovese & Carol Lavalle, 2006. "Development Scenarios for Eastern European Cities and Regions in the New Europe," ERSA conference papers ersa06p194, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa06p194

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