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Self-Reinforcing Processes Governing Urban Sprawl in Belgium: Evidence over Six Decades

Ahmed Mustafa () and Jacques Teller ()
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Ahmed Mustafa: Urban Systems Lab, The New School, New York, NY 10003, USA
Jacques Teller: Local Environment Management and Analysis, Liège University, 4000 Liège, Belgium

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 10, 1-1

Abstract: Urban sprawl is widely acknowledged as an environmental and socio-economic challenge worldwide. This study examines urban sprawl in Belgium over six decades from 1950 to 2010. We assume that sprawl is a self-reinforcing process, i.e., sprawl is fueling further sprawl over time. The main objective of this study is to examine this assumption. We measure urban sprawl at four different levels in this study: country, regions, municipalities, and 1-km 2 cells. Three sprawl indices are employed: the degree of urban dispersion, degree of urban permeation of the landscape, and built-up land uptake per capita. These three indices consider both the growth of built-up areas and population density to measure the magnitude of sprawl. The drivers of urban sprawl have been analyzed at a 1-km 2 level. The examined drivers are previous urban dispersion patterns, distance to urban cores, elevation, and slope degree by means of linear regression. Urban sprawl significantly increased between 1950 and 1980, whereas its increase was more moderate between 1980 and 2010. Urban dispersion and permeation strongly affect the Brussels and Flanders regions. The results show that the increase in the degree of dispersion is locally driven by previous values of dispersion; i.e., it provides an adequate milieu for further dispersion. Therefore, our conclusion is that urban sprawl in Belgium tends to be a self-reinforcing process.

Keywords: urban sprawl; degree of dispersion; urban permeation; Belgium; self-reinforcing process (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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