Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Urban sprawl in Latin America

Inostroza, L., Baur, R. & Csaplovics, E. Urban sprawl and fragmentation in Latin America: A dynamic quantification and characterization of spatial patterns. Journal of Environmental Management 115, 87–97 (2013).

South America is one of the most urbanized continents in the world, where almost 84% of the total population lives in cities, more urbanized than North America (82%) and Europe (73%). Spatial dynamics, their structure, main features, land consumption rates, spatial arrangement, fragmentation degrees and comparability, remain mostly unknown for most Latin American cities. Using satellite imagery the main parameters of sprawl are quantified for 10 Latin American cities over a period of 20 years by monitoring growth patterns and identifying spatial metrics to characterize urban development and sprawling features measured with GIS tools. This quantification contributes to a better understanding of urban form in Latin America. A pervasive spatial expansion has been observed, where most of the studied cities are expanding at fast rates with falling densities trend. Although important differences in the rates of land consumption and densities exist, there is an underlying fragmentation trend towards increasing sprawl. These trends of spatial discontinuity may eventually be intensified by further economic development. Urban Sprawl/Latin America/GIS metrics/spatial development.

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