Regional Assessment of Urban Impacts on Landcover and Open Space Finds a Smart Urban Growth Policy Performs Little Better than Business as UsualReport as inadecuate




Regional Assessment of Urban Impacts on Landcover and Open Space Finds a Smart Urban Growth Policy Performs Little Better than Business as Usual - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

Assessment of landscape change is critical for attainment of regional sustainability goals. Urban growth assessments are needed because over half the global population now lives in cities, which impact biodiversity, ecosystem structure and ecological processes. Open space protection is needed to preserve these attributes, and provide the resources humans need. The San Francisco Bay Area, California, is challenged to accommodate a population increase of 3.07 million while maintaining the region’s ecosystems and biodiversity. Our analysis of 9275 km2 in the Bay Area links historic trends for three measures: urban growth, protected open space, and landcover types over the last 70 years to future 2050 projections of urban growth and open space. Protected open space totaled 348 km2 3.7% of the area in 1940, and expanded to 2221 km2 20.2% currently. An additional 1038 km2 of protected open space is targeted 35.1%. Urban area historically increased from 396.5 km2 to 2239 km2 24.1% of the area. Urban growth during this time mostly occurred at the expense of agricultural landscapes 62.9% rather than natural vegetation. Smart Growth development has been advanced as a preferred alternative in many planning circles, but we found that it conserved only marginally more open space than Business-as-usual when using an urban growth model to portray policies for future urban growth. Scenarios to 2050 suggest urban development on non-urban lands of 1091, 956, or 179 km2, under Business-as-usual, Smart Growth and Infill policy growth scenarios, respectively. The Smart Growth policy converts 88% of natural lands and agriculture used by Business-as-usual, while Infill used only 40% of those lands. Given the historic rate of urban growth, 0.25%-year, and limited space available, the Infill scenario is recommended. While the data may differ, the use of an historic and future framework to track these three variables can be easily applied to other metropolitan areas.



Author: James H. Thorne , Maria J. Santos, Jacquelyn H. Bjorkman

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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