Collection launched: 22 Sep 2022
When cities grow in population, economic output and cultural amenities, they need more physical space. Such space can be created through densification (the focus of another recent B&C special issue - Urban Densification) and/or by expanding their footprints into the rural periphery. Urban expansion in geographic space is often ill-defined and its measurement and projection into the future are controversial. ‘Sprawl’ is detrimental to the surrounding countryside, costly in terms of infrastructure, excessive waste in energy and resources, and increased GHG emissions. But the regulatory containment of urban expansion is problematic as it can result in land and house price inflation, making cities less affordable. The speed of urban expansion has consistently been underestimated especially in the Global South where expansions occur in a disorderly and unplanned manner with negative consequences for inhabitants.
This special collection explores whether and where preparing for urban expansion is appropriate; how urban expansion can be undertaken more sustainably; how and where expansion needs to be contained; what are the appropriate strategies for balancing densification and expansion; and how the appropriate expansion strategies can be effectively implemented.
Shlomo Angel (Marron Institute of Urban Management, New York University)