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In-Between ‘Smart’ Urban Growth and ‘Sluggish’ Rural Development? Reframing Population Dynamics in Greece, 1940–2019

Rosanna Salvia (), Gianluca Egidi (), Luca Salvati (), Jesús Rodrigo-Comino () and Giovanni Quaranta ()
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Rosanna Salvia: Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics Department, University of Basilicata, Viale dell’Ateneo Lucano, I-85100 Potenza, Italy
Gianluca Egidi: Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (DAFNE), Tuscia University, Via San Camillo de Lellis, I-01100 Viterbo, Italy
Luca Salvati: Department of Economics and Law, University of Macerata, Via Armaroli 43, I-62100 Macerata, Italy
Jesús Rodrigo-Comino: Soil Erosion and Degradation Research Group, Department of Geography, University of Valencia, 46010 Valencia, Spain
Giovanni Quaranta: Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics Department, University of Basilicata, Viale dell’Ateneo Lucano, I-85100 Potenza, Italy

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 15, 1-18

Abstract: Multifaceted demographic dynamics have shaped population growth in Mediterranean Europe, reflecting a metropolitan cycle from urbanization to re-urbanization. To assess the distinctive impact of economic downturns on population dynamics, the present study illustrates the results of an exploratory analysis that assesses urban expansion and rural decline at various temporal scales in Greece, a peripheral country in southeastern Europe. Statistical analysis based on multivariate exploratory techniques outlined the persistent increase of regional populations, evidencing the distinctive role of agglomeration/scale with urbanization and early suburbanization phases (1940–1980) and accessibility/amenities with late suburbanization and re-urbanization phases (1981–2019). Recession accompanied (and, in some way, consolidated) the decline of agglomeration economies, leading to counter-urbanization in some cases. As an indirect result of counter-urbanization, the population increased more rapidly in low-density coastal areas with moderate accessibility and tourism specialization. Consistently, settlement expansion has altered the persistent gap in central and peripheral locations. A polarized urban hierarchy centered on the capital city, Athens, was replaced with a more diffused growth of medium-sized cities and attractive rural locations, depicting a new development path for lagging countries in the European Union and other socioeconomic contexts worldwide.

Keywords: polycentrism; socioeconomic resilience; recession; Mediterranean Europe (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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