Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Urban sprawl in Portugal based on urban systems spatial boundaries

Raquel Faria de Deus, José António Tenedório, Montserrat Moix Bergadà


Nowadays, some European countries are facing the most complex process of land-use/landcover
change – the urban sprawl, which in turn has a compound impact on the social and
environmental structure of urban areas. This study intends to analyse urban sprawl in mainland
Portugal through a comparison of urban land cover changes during the period of 1990-2006,
using urban systems as spatial reference units. CORINE Land Cover maps were used to
generate time series of urban land cover data. A methodology based on the interaction value
was applied to identify the urban systems, using the commuting matrix supplied by the 2001
Census. Urban land cover change analyses, at the urban systems level, allowed for the
identification of artificial areas spread patterns. Such spatial information is essential for
rethinking new actions that may contribute to more efficient urban planning.

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