Print this page Share

Urban Sprawl in Europe: Landscape, Land-Use Change and Policy

Chris Couch (Editor), Gerhard Petschel-Held (Editor), Lila Leontidou (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-69134-2
296 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Urban Sprawl in Europe: Landscape, Land-Use Change and Policy (0470691344) cover image
Urban sprawl is one of the most important types of land-use changes currently affecting Europe. It increasingly creates major impacts on the environment (via surface sealing, emissions by transport and ecosystem fragmentation); on the social structure of an area (by segregation, lifestyle changes and neglecting urban centres); and on the economy (via distributed production, land prices, and issues of scale).

Urban Sprawl in Europe: landscapes, land-use change & policy explains the nature and dynamics of urban sprawl. The book is written in three parts. Part I considers contemporary definitions, theories and trends in European urban sprawl. In part II authors draw upon experiences from across Europe to consider urban sprawl from a number of perspectives:

  • Infrastructure-related sprawl, such as can be seen around Athens;
  • Sprawl in the post-socialist city, as typified by Warsaw, Leipzig and Ljubljana;
  • Decline and sprawl, where a comparative analysis of Liverpool and Leipzig shows that sprawl is not confined to expanding cities;
  • Sprawl based on the development of second homes as found in Sweden, Austria and elsewhere.

In part III a formal qualitative model of sprawl is developed. Policies for the control of urban sprawl and the roles of different stakeholders are considered. Finally, a concluding chapter raises questions about the nature and dynamics of these new urban landscapes and their sustainability.

See More



Part I Theory and Method .

1 Introduction: Definitions, Theories and Methods of Comparative Analysis .

Chris Couch, Lila Leontidou and Karl-Olov Arnstberg.


The origins of suburbia and urban sprawl in Europe and the USA.

Some differences between Europe and the USA.

The development of theory and policy in Europe.


The structure of the book.



2 Sprawl in European Cities: The Comparative Background .

Diana Reckien and Jay Karecha.

Urban trends in Europe.

Urban trends in the case study cities.


Appendix: Patterns of growth and sprawl across European cities.


Part II Types of Urban Sprawl in Europe .

3 Infrastructure-related Urban Sprawl: Mega-events and Hybrid Peri-urban Landscapes in Southern Europe.

Lila Leontidou, Alex Afouxenidis, Elias Kourliouros and Emmanuel Marmaras.

Introduction: theory and method.

‘Astyphilia’ and popular spontaneous suburbanisation untilthe 1970s.

Modernism and urban land policy after EU accession.

Toward the entrepreneurial city and post-Olympic landscapes.

Mega-events and Mediterranean urban futures.



4 Sprawl in the Post-Socialist City: The Changing Economic andInstitutional Context of Central and Eastern European Cities .

Nataša Pichler-Milanović, Małgorzata Gutry-Korycka and Dieter Rink.

Socialist cities in Central and Eastern Europe.

Transition reforms in Central and Eastern Europe.

The patterns of urban sprawl in post-socialist cities.

The causes of urban sprawl in the post-socialist cities.

The consequences of urban sprawl in post-socialist cities.

Policy responses.

Conclusions: what is needed for ‘sustainable’ sprawl in post-socialist cities?.



5 Decline and Sprawl: Urban Sprawl is not Confined to Expanding City Regions .

Henning Nuissl, Dieter Rink, Chris Couch and Jay Karecha.

Sprawl in the context of urban decline.

Trends in urban sprawl in Britain and Germany.

The two cases.

Comparisons between Liverpool and Leipzig.




6 No Place Like Second Home: Weekends, Holidays, Retirement and Urban Sprawl .

Karl-Olov Arnstberg and Inger Bergstrom.

The largest industry in the world.

A short history of the summerhouse.

The summers of my childhood.

Two homes.

Making and maintaining roots.

Recreation, retirement …and investment.

Retreat to a loved place.

Värmdö, a sprawled community in the Stockholm region.


Part III Models, Urban Policy and Sustainability .

7 Modelling Urban Sprawl: Actors and Mathematics .

Matthias Lüdeke, Diana Reckien and Gerhard Petschel-Held.

Actors, actor classes and sprawl.

The actor versus the structural perspective on sprawl.

Identifying the feedbacks.

Operationalising the qualitative attractivity migration model.

Validation and future scenarios.

Using a QUAM model for policy analysis.

From general targets to specific policy mechanisms: a model analysis.

Discussion of case specific strategy – suggestions from a QUAM perspective.




8 Lines of Defence: Policies for the Control of Urban Sprawl .

Henning Nuissl and Chris Couch.

The aims of policy.

The mechanisms of policy.


Economic intervention: direct investment, taxation or subsidy.

Institutional change, management and advocacy.




9 Urban Sprawl and Hybrid Cityscapes in Europe: Comparisons, Theory Construction and Conclusions .

Lila Leontidou and Chris Couch.

‘Urban’, ‘suburban’, ‘post-suburban’, and their in-between spaces.

Deconstructing the dualism of causes/consequences of urban sprawl.

A systematic comparison of city case studies.

Cultures of urbanism and sprawl in Europe.

Hybrid landscapes and questions of sustainability.




See More
Chris Couch is Professor of Urban Planning; and Head of Planning and Housing Studies – Liverpool John Mores University

Dr Lila Leontidou is a Professor of Geography - Hellenic Open University and University of the Aegean

Dr Gerhard Petschel-Held was formerly based at the Institute of the Sociology of Spatial Planning - Vienna University of Technology

See More
Reports new research and provides a thorough discussion of theory and policy

  • Combines development of theory around the causes and consequences of sprawl with existing policy and authors' own proposals for new policy
See More
Back to Top