Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sprawl should be studied at various spatial resolutions

Yesterday was the first meeting of our workshop on peri-urban dynamics at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. It was intellectually stimulating to spend several hours with colleagues from Haifa, Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion universities and our past and present grad students. There were geographers, experts in geo-spatial modeling, ecologists, urban planners and of course an urban economist.

We discussed the edge dynamics of cities and considered what is known about sprawl. The consensus around the room was that most of the literature relied on low resolution spatial data to identify and characterize sprawl. At best, the results are uninformative. The required characterization of sprawl should be in terms of the dynamics of natural systems within and at the edge of cities. In other words, when we think of sprawl we should model the urban system from the perspective of the dynamics of natural systems. Various resolutions should be considered. For avian population dynamics 3D porosity of cities is of interest.

At the workshop I presented some of our recent survey: Czamanski, D., Benenson, I., Malkinson, d., Marinov, M., Roth, R., Wittenberg, L., "Urban Dynamics and Ecosystems" in International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, 2, 2008, pp. 1-45.

I cannot wait unitl our next meeting in Tel Aviv in two weeks.

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