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Evaluation of Urban Sprawl Speed and Intensity Based on International Urbanization. Example from a Mexican City

Houshmand E. MASOUMI1, Daniela ROQUE1
1Technical University of Berlin, Center for Technology and Society, Berlin, GERMANY
Pages: 27-35

Abstract. Urban sprawl characteristics and forms have been investigated thoroughly, but studies are often at a country or a region level. The related observations fail to compare sprawl in cities from different continents or cultures. This paper tries to do this by quantifying sprawl in a mid-sized city in north-western Mexico (Ensenada) between 1980 and 2014 by means of Shannon Entropy and comparing it with 12 different cities from India, Iran, Portugal, Nepal, China, and Canada. The comparisons are conducted separately targeting sprawl intensity and speed. Shannon Entropy means are compared to represent differences in sprawl intensity, while Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) is applied to model and compare regression coefficients that represent sprawl speed. Homogeneity of regression slopes indicates differences in sprawl speed of Ensenada with the compared cities. The results reveal that Ensenada is more sprawled than 7 out of 12 of the observed cities, but continues to spread outward with the same speed as most of the compared cities. Such international comparisons on sprawl can on the one hand give an overview of the differences in sprawl characteristics in cities around the world. On the other hand, such investigations can provide local governments, such as Ensenada, insights to shortcomings and weak points of their land use policy. Concerning the latter case, the case-study city of this research, which represents about 20 mid-sized cities of Northern Mexico, has to take urban and suburban sprawl containment policies.

K e y w o r d s:  urban sprawl, land use, urban form, Shannon Entropy, Mexico