By Houshmand E. MASOUMI
Urban sprawl is a well-researched topic and its negative effects on transportation, environment and social interactions are shown in many studies. However the related literature mainly comes from developed countries, and the developing countries, particularly those located in the Middle East and North Africa have a small part. This paper investigates the presence of urban sprawl in the urban developments in the periphery of the mid-sized and small large cities of central Iran. Yazd and Kashan are taken as case-study cities. The observation criteria are based on the urban sprawl definitions that are accepted and widely used. The four measures that are observed in case of these two cities are discrepancy between urban growth rate and population increase, decrease in population density, leapfrog and scattered developments, and lack of public open spaces. The findings of the study show that urban sprawl is seen in the urban development pattern of both cities. This sprawl partially started in 1970s and increased dramatically after 1980. The paper argues about the necessity of more in-depth studies about presence and morphology of urban sprawl in mid- sized and small large cities of Iran and other countries of the Middle East and North Africa.
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