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Determinants of urban sprawl in European cities

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Walid Oueslati, Professor Guy Garrod, Dr Seraphim Alvanides



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


This paper provides empirical evidence that helps to answer several key questions relating to the extent of urban sprawl in Europe. Building on the monocentric city model, this study uses existing data sources to derive a set of panel data for 282 European cities at three time points (1990, 2000 and 2006). Two indices of urban sprawl are calculated that respectively reflect changes in artificial area and the levels of urban fragmentation for each city. These are supplemented by a set of data on various economic and geographical variables that might explain the variation of the two indices. Using a Hausman-Taylor estimator and random regressors to control for the possible correlation between explanatory variables and unobservable city-level effects, we find that the fundamental conclusions of the standard monocentric model are valid in the European context for both indices. Although the variables generated by the monocentric model explain a large part of the variation of artificial area, their explanatory power for modelling the fragmentation index is relatively low.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Oueslati W, Garrod GD, Alvanides S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Urban Studies

Year: 2015

Volume: 52

Issue: 9

Pages: 1594-1614

Print publication date: 01/07/2015

Online publication date: 23/03/2015

Acceptance date: 16/02/2015

Date deposited: 26/05/2015

ISSN (print): 0042-0980

ISSN (electronic): 1360-063X

Publisher: Sage Publications


DOI: 10.1177/0042098015577773


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Funder referenceFunder name
FP7-PEOPLE-2010-IEF - 273191 - LUPUSEuropean Union under Marie Curie Intra-European program