work packages

WP1 carries out a literature review of all possible impacts of urban sprawl on urban structure, built forms, economy, social aspects, transport (mobility and accessibility), environment (energy consumption, pollutant emission, vitality of ecosystems, …). It considers negative impacts as well as positive impacts.

The first part is a review of literature, research and projects since around 1940, which concentrates on the American and British experience. The logic for this is based on the casual but informed observation that urban sprawl has to date been a peculiarly British and American phenomenon, particularly due, we think, to the relatively lower density of cities in both Britain and America and to the notion that home-ownership with a garden are core values of the Anglo-Saxon heritage.
Moreover the literature is dominated by discussion in English and it is clear that a special vocabulary has been developed for these aspects of urban growth in the English speaking world.

In contrast the second part of our review is from the continental European perspective in which the conditions for urban growth have only very recently begun to mirror those in Britain and North America. Towns in Europe have tended to remain more compact with higher densities and more uniform densities while sprawl in so far as it can be recognised in visual terms is much more due to the merging of distinct urban settlements as conurbations or to use the more current jargon, as polynucleated clusters.
This second part of the review takes a rather different perspective with stresses urban growth at a more aggregate level.

Finally, in the third part, we deal briefly with measures of urban growth and sprawl. From the literature we have identified several key measures and we present a preliminary typology of measures below. However many of the measures will be informed by later workpackages, particularly WP3 which involves statistical analysis of the features and effects of sprawl.

urban sprawl