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Dynamics of urban sprawl

Batty, M; Xie, Y; Sun, Z; (1999) Dynamics of urban sprawl. (CASA Working Papers 15). UCL (University College London), Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL): London, UK. Green open access

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This paper introduces a framework for understanding the dynamics of urban growth,particularly the continuing problem of urban sprawl. The models we present are based on transitions from vacant land to established development. We propose that the essential mechanism of transition is analogous to the way an epidemic is generated within a susceptible population, with waves of development being generated from the conversion of available land to new development and redevelopment through the aging process. We first outline the standard aggregate model in differential equation form, showing how different variants (including logistic, exponential, predator-prey models) can be derived for various urban growth situations. We then generalize the model to a spatial system and show how sprawl can be conceived as a process of both interaction/reaction and diffusion. We operationalize the model as a cellular automata (CA) which implies that diffusion is entirely local, and we then illustrate how waves of development and redevelopment characterizing both sprawl and aging of the existing urban stock, can be simulated.Finally we show how the model can be adapted to a real urban situation - the AnnArbor area in Eastern Michigan - where we demonstrate how waves of development are absorbed and modified by particular historical contingencies associated with the re-existing urban structure.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Dynamics of urban sprawl
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 19th Nov 2005
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1360
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