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The Way Toward Dispersed Metropolitan Growth: Land-use Efficiency and the Abandonment of a Mediterranean Compact Tradition

M. Zitti, I. Zambon, A. Mavrakis, L. Salvati


Since urban growth is strictly connected to the morphological, environmental, political, social, cultural and economic characteristics of the territory over which the phenomenon is acting, the importance of adopting an ad hoc analysis for studying patterns and processes of sprawl according to the investigated region has been stressed. In a context of particularly high land demand, dynamics and spatial effects of urban sprawl in Mediterranean Europe have been quantified extensively, concluding that nature and spatial outcomes of sprawl reflect geo-economic and socio-cultural characteristics of the territory and its settlements, especially along peri-urban areas, sea coastlines and internal lowlands, considered areas with the highest potential to population growth. Results derived from empirical studies may stimulate the adoption of more specific, scale-dependent policies aimed at containing urban-rural disparities. In this line of thinking, the present study proposes a specific analysis of urban expansion in a representative case study in southern Europe, the metropolitan region of Attica (Greece), exploring environmental implications of urban sprawl. Based on a qualitative and quantitative analysis, this work is intended to provide a specific contribution on dispersed urban expansion, shedding further light on latent transformations of Mediterranean cities, progressively abandoning a compact urbanization and moving toward discontinuous metropolitan spatial structures.


Urban sprawl, Southern Europe, Landscape, Indicators, Greece.

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