Advanced search


Full Text:


Urban sprawl is among the most debated topics in the field of urbanism, environmental sciences, ecology, economics, and geography. As urban sprawl involves different subjects of study, this phenomenon is extremely fascinating on the one side, but very complex and difficult to analyze on the other side. For this reason, sprawl has and is attracting the interest of many researchers from all over the world, having the objective to define the nature, dynamics and consequences that the process of low-density urban expansion is having on the biophysical and socioeconomic environment. The aim of this review is to provide a brief picture on the nature of the relationship existing between sprawl and the environment with special attention to Europe. The growing environmental vulnerability of the European urban regions was discussed according to a bibliographic survey based on quali-quantitative studies. Evidence support the idea that environmental policy and regional planning should cope more effectively with the increasing vulnerability of “shrinking” urban regions to natural hazards.

About the Authors

Vittorio Gargiulo

Undergraduate student at Delft University, The Netherlands

Adele Sateriano

Via C. Facchinetti 85, I-00161 Rome, Italy

Rosanna Di Bartolomei

Sapienza’ University of Rome, Department of Social and Economics Sciences, Piazzale A. Moro 5, I-00185 Rome, Italy

Luca Salvati

Russian Federation
Italian Agricultural Research Council—Centre for the Study of Soil-Plant Interactions, Via della Navicella 2-4, I-00161 Rome, Italy


1. Aguilar, A.G. (2008). Peri-urbanization, illegal settlements and environmental impact in

2. Mexico City, Cities, 25, 133–145.

3. Alphan, H. (2003). Land use change and urbanisation of Adana, Turkey, Land Degr. Develop.,

4. , 575–586.

5. Associated Programme on Flood Management (APFM), “Urban Flood Management in a

6. Changing Climate” (2012) Integrated Flood Management Tools Series, APFM Technical

7. Document No. 19, ©World Meteorological Organization, p. 1–56.

8. Attorre, F., Rossetti, A., Sbrega, B., Bruno, F. (1998). Landscape changes in Rome, Italy, Coenosis,

9. , 578–564.

10. Balchin, P. (1996). Housing Policy in Europe, London and New York: Routledge.

11. Barlow, S.A., Munn, I.A., Cleaves, D.A., and Evans, D.L. (1998). The effects of urban sprawl on

12. timber harvest. Journal of Forestry (December]: 10–14.

13. Barnes, K.B., Morgan, J.M., Roberge, M.C., and Lowe, S. (2002). Sprawl development: its

14. patterns, consequences, and measurement, Center for Geographic Information Sciences,

15. Towson University, p. 1–24.

16. Brouwer, F.B., Thomas, A.J., Chadwick, M.J. (1991). Land use changes in Europe. Processes

17. of change, environmental transformations and future patterns, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic

18. Publishers.

19. Bruegmann, R. (2005). Sprawl: a compact history, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

20. Buelt, K. (1996) “Land use planning: A farmer’s perspective”. In Land Use In America, ed. H.

21. L. Diamond and P.F. Noonan, 237–243. Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

22. Bullard, R.D., Glenn, S.J., and Torres, A.O. (2000). Sprawl City. Washington DC: Island Press.

23. Burchell, R.W., Downs, A., McCann, B., Mukherji, S. (2005). Sprawl Costs – Economic Impacts

24. of Unchecked Development, Washington: Island Press.

25. Camagni, R., Capello, R., Nijkamp, P. (1998). Toward Sustainable City Policy: an Economy-

26. Environment-Technology Nexus, Ecol. Econ., 24, 103–118.

27. Chin, N. (2002). Unearthing the Roots of Urban Sprawl: A Critical Analysis of Form, Function

28. and Methodology, Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis of the University College

29. London, Working Paper, Series 47.

30. Couch, C., Leontidou, L., Petschel-Held, G. (2007). Urban Sprawl in Europe – Landscapes,

31. Land-Use Change & Policy, Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.

32. Craglia, M., Leontidou, L., Nuvolati, G., Schweikart, J. (2004). Towards the Development of

33. Quality Indicators in the ‘Digital’ City, Environ. Plan. B, 31, 51–64.

34. Davoudi, S., 2003, Polycentricity in European Spatial Planning: From an Analytical Tool to

35. a Normative Agenda, Eur. Plan. Stud., 11 (8), 979–999.

36. Downs, A. (1999). Some Realities about Sprawl and Urban Decline, Hous. Pol. Deb., 10 (4),

37. –974.

38. Downs, A. (1997). The Challenge of Our Declining Big Cities. Housing Policy Debate 8:

39. –408.

40. European Environmental Agency (2006). Urban sprawl in Europe – The ignored challenge,

41. Copenhagen: EEA Report no. 10.

42. Ewing, R., Pendall, R., Chen, D. (2002). Measuring Sprawl and Its Impact, Washington, DC:

43. Smart Growth America.

44. Frenkel, A., Ashkenazi, M. (2007). The integrated sprawl index: measuring the urban landscape

45. in Israel, Ann. Reg. Sci., 42 (1), 99–121.

46. Frenkel, A., Ashkenazi, M. (2008). Measuring Urban Sprawl: How can We Deal With It?

47. Environ. Plan. B, 35, 56–79.

48. Frumkin, H. (2002). Urban Sprawl and Public Health. Public Health Reports, Association of

49. Schools of Public Health. Pp. 117–216.

50. Furuseth, O.J., and Pierce, J.T. (1982). Agricultural Land In An Urban Society. Washington,

51. D.C.: Association of American Geographers.

52. Glaster, G., Hanson, R., Ratcliffe, M.R., Wolman, H., Coleman, S., Freihage, J. (2001). Wrestling Sprawl

53. to the Ground: Defining and Measuring an Elusive Concept, Hous. Pol. Deb., 12 (4), 681–717.

54. Haase, D., and Nuissl, H. (2010). The urban-to-rural gradient of land use change and impervious

55. cover: a long-term trajectory for the city of Leipzig, Land Use Sci., 5 (2), 123–142.

56. Hall, P. (1997). The Future of Metropolis and Its Form, Reg. Stud., 31 (3), 211–220.

57. Hasse, J.E. (2004). A Geospatial Approach to Measuring New Development for Characteristics

58. of Sprawl, Landscape Journal: Design, Planning and Management of the Land, 23 p. 52–67.

59. Hasse, J.E., and Lathrop, R.G. (2003). Land Resource Impact Indicators of Urban Sprawl,

60. Appl. Geogr., 23, 159–175.

61. Hasse, J.E. (2008). Using remote sensing and GIS integration to identify spatial characteristics

62. of sprawl at the building-unit level, book chapter in Integrating Remote Sensing and

63. GIS, edited by Victor Mesev, John Wiley & Sons, London.

64. Jaret, C., Ghadge, R., Reid, L.W., Adelman, R.M. (2009). The Measurement of Suburban

65. Sprawl: An Evaluation, City & Community, 8 (1), 65–84.

66. Johnson, M.P. (2001). Environmental Impacts of Urban Sprawl: A Survey of the Literature

67. and Proposed Research Agenda, Environ. Plan. B, 33, 717–735.

68. Kahn, M.E. (2000). The environmental impact of suburbanization. Journal of Policy Analysis

69. and Management 19 (4): 569–586.

70. Legget, R.F. (1973). Cities and Geology. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

71. Longhi, C., Musolesi, A. (2007). European cities in the process of economic integration:

72. towards structural convergence, Ann. Reg. Sci., 41, 333–351.

73. McInnes, R. (2010). Urban Development, Biodiversity and Wetland Management, export

74. workshop 16 to 17 november 2009, Oxoford Unhabitat, p. 1–57.

75. Newman, P. & Kenworthy, J. (1999). Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming automobile.

76. Newman, P. & Kenworthy, J. (1989). Cities and Automobile Dependence: An International

77. Sourcebook Gower, England.

78. Newman, P. and Thornley, A. (1996). Urban planning in Europe – International competition,

79. national systems and planning projects, London, Routledge.

80. Peiser, R. (2001). Decomposing urban sprawl. Town Planning Review. 3 (72), 96–108.

81. Prud’homme, R., Lee, G. (1999). Sprawl, Speed and the Efficiency of Cities, Urban Stud., 36,

82. –1858.

83. Richardson, H.W., Chang-Hee, C.B. (2004). Urban Sprawl in Western Europe and the United

84. States, London: Ashgate.

85. Salvati, L. (2010). Economic Causes and Consequences of Land Degradation and Desertification

86. Risk in Southern Europe. Integrating Micro-Macro Approaches Into a Geographical

87. Perspective, Int. J. Ecol. Econ. Stat., (March- April).

88. Schneider, A., Woodcock, C.E. (2008). Compact, dispersed, fragmented, extensive? A comparison

89. of urban growth in 25 global cities using remotely sensed data, pattern metrics

90. and census information, Urban Stud., 45, 659–692.

91. Scott, A.J. (2001). Global City-Regions – Trends, Theory, Policy, New York: Oxford Unversity

92. Press.

93. Squires, G.D. (2002). Urban Sprawl: Causes, Consequences, and Policy Decisions. Washington

94. DC: Urban Institute Press.

95. Tsai, Y. (2005). Quantifying Urban Form: Compactness versus Sprawl, Urban Stud., 42 (1),

96. –161.

97. Turok, I., Mykhnenko, V. (2007). The trajectories of European cities, 1960–2005. Cities,

98. (3), 165–182.

99. United Nations (2007). World urbanization prospects: the 2006 revision, New York: UN.

100. Xiaojun Y. (2011). Urban Remote Sensing: Monitoring, Synthesis and Modeling in the

101. Urban Environment, (Ed.). Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.


For citations:

Gargiulo V., Sateriano A., Di Bartolomei R., Salvati L. URBAN SPRAWL AND THE ENVIRONMENT. GEOGRAPHY, ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABILITY. 2012;5(4):46-62.

Views: 1460

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ISSN 2071-9388 (Print)
ISSN 2542-1565 (Online)