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Rethinking Urban Sprawl

Moving Towards Sustainable Cities

image of Rethinking Urban Sprawl

This report provides a new perspective to the nature of urban sprawl and its causes and environmental, social and economic consequences. This perspective, which is based on the multi-dimensionality of urban sprawl, sets the foundations for the construction of new indicators to measure the various facets of urban sprawl. The report uses new datasets to compute these indicators for more than 1100 urban areas in 29 OECD countries over the period 1990-2014. It then relies on cross-city, country-level and cross-country analyses of these indicators to provide insights into the current situation and evolution of urban sprawl in OECD cities. In addition, the report offers a critical assessment of the causes and consequences of urban sprawl and discusses policy options to steer urban development to more environmentally sustainable forms.

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The policy challenge of urban sprawl

This chapter discusses the policy challenges associated with urban sprawl. It distinguishes urban sprawl from other forms of urbanisation and explains why a new perspective on the phenomenon is needed. It then describes how the new perspective on urban sprawl developed in this report can help policy makers address the challenges associated with it. To this end, the report’s contributions on the definition and measurement of sprawl, the analysis of its causes and consequences, and the identification of policy actions to address the latter are highlighted. Last, the chapter navigates the reader through the different sections of the report.

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