URBAN SPRAWL

In recent decades, urban growth has not been adopted with residents needs. As a result of this process, many lands have been utilized for construction. The word of “Urban Sprawl” means more growth than the usual and what makes it different from urban growth is this excessive nature. Although sprawl is an American phenomenon, but it should be indicated that it’s different by environmental, economic, social and political situations.  Cities tend to growth and planned growth is reached while there is an appropriate proportion between urban growth and urban organism. But when the growth is more than usual, its pressure on the boundaries. The city will face new major problems. The motto of this article to introduce urban sprawl’s characteristics, causes and appropriate policies at the end of it.

In the USA land consumption has gone from 161 square miles per 1,000 inhabitants in 1950 to 243 in 1970, and 293 in 1990 in the metropolitan areas of more than one million inhabitants. The changing of land from forest or agricultural uses to suburban and urban uses is increasing. Between 2000 and 2010, urban land area in the U.S. increased by 15%. Urban land area is 106,386 square miles, or 3% of total land area in the U.S. and is projected to triple from 2000 to 2050.

Residential sprawl is on average responsible for more than 45 % of coastal zone land transformation into artificial surfaces. There is an increasing demand for investment in coastal residences due to tourism and leisure from northern Europe. In addition, there is also domestic demand from the inland population. The Considerable examples in Europe are Portugal and Spain. The Portugal’s urban development is concentrated around the two metropolitan areas of Lisbon and Porto, along the coastline from Lisbon/Setubal to Porto/Viana do Castelo, and more recently along the Algarve coast. In Spain, economic growth and tourism has resulted in an increased number of households and second homes particularly along the Mediterranean coast. Illustrative of this phenomenon are the Costa del Sol and Costa Brava which developed significantly during the 1950s and 1960s due to the demand for high quality holidays. This led to the combined development of accommodation, infrastructure and leisure facilities, such as golf courses and marinas. This development is still very intensive today.

Zanjan is one of the cities in Iran that have had a rapid expansion in recent years and vast areas of the city have been built up recently. Proposed residential area of Zanjan master plan was 967 Km2 in 2000 that reached to 2417 Km2 at its deadline. Findings show the expansion of the city has been affected by various factors such as economy, urban development plans and policies. For the city of Beijing, exclusively losing farm land in the periphery and socio-spatial segregation happening in central urban area are main environmental and social problems. It is being criticized as to great extend correlated to sprawl. Since the post-war reconstruction period in 1950s, Beijing as the capital city of China started to grow with a mono-centric urban structure, because the administrative centre of the city was located in the heart of the old city. The process of urban sprawl was accelerated, and the central urban area was enlarged from 109Km2 in 1949 to 340Km2 in 1978. In the past 40 years, land occupied because of expansion of the central urban area reached 520Km2. 

In order to control an urban sprawl we must consider some concrete steps with effective implementation. Lets have reviews on policies and surveys did so far to control an urban sprawl. As per surveys shows that reducing the number of private auto ownership is one of the main methods for controlling sprawl. More taxation and toll gate is the other solution. Urban boundaries in edges of cities will control urban sprawl. In this regard, only constructing in inner districts will be allowed and urban size will not be extended. In surveys show that urban sprawl has got costs 20 times more than the normal growth. One important part of residents in suburb is people who migrate for improvement of their family life. Paying financial credits, preparation of affordable housing and regional subsidies are some solutions for improving their living condition. Open spaces have high value tax determination for changing land uses causes a decrease in the rate of land changes. This might be solution to control an urban sprawl.  Urban consolidation has been introduced as a solution for more appropriate utilization of lands and infrastructures in the built up area of a city. It pursuits restriction of using urban lands, reduction of infrastructure costs, and using of more public transportation. We must support smart growth strategies on compact development and redevelopment built up area in a city. 

According to the negative results of urban sprawl, it is necessary to develop policies to decrease its negative effects. There are many policies and each one concentrates on different aspects of this issue. 

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