Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The nature and causes of urban sprawl: a case study of Wirral, England

Chris Couch & Jay Karecha
Liverpool John Moores University

This paper is one of a series being written by the authors as a contribution to the URBS PANDENS research project examining ‘urban sprawl in Europe’. The first two parts of the paper were presented at the Ljubljana meeting. Part one examined definitions and theories of urban sprawl whilst part two considered methods of measuring urban sprawl and presented data on urban change and sprawl for England, the Merseyside conurbation and the Metropolitan Borough of Wirral. Part three, which is presented here, explores the causes of urban sprawl and a more recent contrasting phenomenon: re-urbanisation. This exploration is based upon the findings of empirical investigations in Wirral. It should be noted that these are the limits of concern in this paper: the definition, measurement and causes of urban sprawl. There are other important questions about the good or bad effects of urban sprawl; its relationship with other concepts such as sustainable development; and the evaluation of public policies to control or mediate the effects of sprawl. But these matters will be explored in subsequent papers.

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