Wednesday, April 4, 2012


by J. Rocaa, M. C. Burnsa and J. M. Carreras

The City of Barcelona has a population of just over 1.5 million inhabitants. The Metropolitan Region Barcelona (RMB) extends to some 3,236 km2 and according to the 2001 Census has a population of almost 4.4 million inhabitants. In recent years the population of the City of Barcelona has been in decline, in contrast to marked demographic increases in the wider metropolitan area. Indeed the RMB has witnessed a significant process of disperse urban development or urban sprawl, accompanied by increased land consumption. To date efforts to quantify such urban growth have depended upon the analysis of aerial photography and other more functional relations, utilising information based upon commuting travel flows for employment purposes. This paper approaches the measurement of metropolitan urban growth from a strictly morphological perspective, drawing upon SPOT satellite imagery dating from 1995 and 2003, in order to quantify and analyse the process of ‘periurbanisation’ which has been experienced in Barcelona over this period. At the same time the paper also assesses the increased accuracy for urban planning activities from an operational perspective, afforded by the new generation of satellite images from SPOT5, through the higher resolution of the images, for the monitoring of key urban development issues, both within the confines and beyond the edges of Barcelona’s metropolitan area.

more about urban sprawl:

The Costs of Sprawl Reconsidered: What the Data Really Show

Journey-to-Work Patterns in the Age of Sprawl: Evidence from Two Midsize Southern Metropolitan Areas

Municipal Finance and the Pattern of Urban Growth

Neighborhood Design and the Accessibility of the Elderly: An Empirical Analysis in Northern California

Spatial Planning, Urban Form and Sustainable Transport: An Introduction

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