In the European Union, about 80% of the population lives in cities and towns. In the next 15 years the population living in urban agglomerations is expected to increase by more than 4%. (EEA, 1999). As a consequence urban settlements are continuing to sprawl, causing land use stress and social inequities.
As strategies and instruments aimed at reducing the expansion of the towns and cities strongly depend on local, regional and national conditions of the Member States, however many EU policies can be addressed in the same direction, although at a different scale. This requires the implementation of a monitoring and assessment framework to quantify and compare information on the environmental impact of development and policies throughout Europe.
An example in this direction had been the Murbandy / Moland project (Monitoring Urban Dynamics/Monitoring Land Use Changes) which proposed a methodology for strategic monitoring of the spatial evolution of a selected set of urban and their effects on the environment. This project is able to organize databases and derive relevant information to construct indicators that can give information about spatial processes such as urban growth, land use changes, intensity and directions of urban sprawl, etc.
The present report is the result of an activity included in a ETC/TE project aiming at analyzing the impact of urban sprawl on sealing high valuable soils for agriculture and consequences (e.g. for erosion).
View Online (2005)