Strategies for sustainable urban development and urban-rural linkages

K. Nilsson, T. Sick Nielsen, C.B.E.M. Aalbers, S. Bell, B. Boitier, J.P. Chery, C. Fertner, M. Groschowski, D. Haase, W. Loibl, S. Pauleit, M. Pintar, A. Piorr, J. Ravetz, M. Ristimäki, M. Rounsevell, I. Tosics, J. Westerink, I. Zasada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


An important driving force behind urban expansion is the growth of the urban population. But for Europe, this is not a sufficient explanation. The major trend is that European cities have become much less compact. Since the mid-1950s European cities have expanded on average by 78%, whereas the population has grown by only 33%. In the PLUREL project - an integrated project within the EU’s 6th Research Framework Programme - more than 100 researchers from 15 countries analysed the impacts of urban land consumption at a pan-European level and, through six European and one Chinese case studies, identified how land use conflicts and the pressure towards peri-urban areas can be strategically managed in different development and regulatory contexts. To summarise, the following strategies were identified as important steps towards more sustainable urban-rural futures: (i) better coordination of transport, land use and open space planning; (ii) urban containment and densification – development of a green compact city; (iii) preservation of blue and green infrastructure; and (iv) preservation of agricultural land and the promotion of local production. The need also remains to strengthen governance at the regional level while at the pan-European level there is clearly a need for more policy attention to be given to urban-rural linkages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
JournalEuropean Journal of Spatial Development
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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