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Correia, Marcos
de Abreu e Silva, João
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
55th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "World Renaissance: Changing roles for people and places", 25-28 August 2015, Lisbon, Portugal
Urban sprawl is a type of urban growth which is generally considered as mainly negative that entails a series of negative impacts. One specific negative impact is the higher municipal direct monetary costs associated with it, when compared with other types of urban growth, e.g. compact city (1). Municipal monetary costs are related with the construction, management, operation and maintenance of infrastructures, such as roads, sewerage, water supply, communications and energy; and services such as garbage collection, recycling, postal service and transportation (including school transport). Usually, these costs are, directly and indirectly, supported by the municipal government (2). The association between sprawl and higher municipal costs is related with the over extension of infra-structures and services to serve a fragmented low density urban space. Nevertheless there is a paradox at work here, since sprawled urban development could act as a source of revenues to a municipality (e.g. urbanization and construction licenses and tax revenues), but in the long term the costs to maintain such paradigm will be higher than the revenues obtained (2). The objective of this work is to assess and associate the aforementioned costs to higher levels of and to different manifestations of sprawl. For that we collected data on a sample of 60 municipalities, which are classified as medium cities in Portugal. For this assessment, a dataset composed by each municipality?s census subsections of 2011, containing demographic information, and developed on ARCGIS ®, will be developed. Sprawl indicators will be built focusing on the following dimensions: population density, building densities and type of urban space, to account for fragmentation and dispersions patterns; and the irregularity of urban forms; Correlation analysis and regression models will be built between the sprawl indicators and the monetary costs of the municipalities, to assess if sprawl is correlated or not with higher costs, while controlling for other aspect like municipality size, region administrative and political structure. These costs are to be extracted from municipal annual budgets, and it will include the budget lines related with the development and maintenance of municipalities infrastructures and services, namely: roads; sewerages; water supply; garbage and recycle recollection; transportation; green spaces; and cultural and sports facilities. The obtained results are discussed both in terms of its accordance with previous findings in the literature as well as its policy implications. 1 Carruthers, J.I. & Ulfarsson, G.F., 2003. Urban Sprawl and the Cost of Public Services. Environment and Planning B-Planning & Design, 30, pp.503?522. 2 Carter, N. & Silva, F.N. da, 2001. Recent Changes in Territorial Planning and the System for Controling Urban Development in Portugal. Transportation Research Part a-Policy and Practice, 3, pp.341?370.
Urban sprawl
medium cities
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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