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Semi-Urban Areas in Landscape Research: A Review

Author(s): Steven J. Meeus | Hubert Gulinck

Journal: Living Reviews in Landscape Research
ISSN 1863-7329

Volume: 2;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Keywords: urban fringe | sprawl | semi-urban areas

Urbanization is a well-known topic in sustainable development debates as it is known to have great impacts on landscape and environment. Low density, apparently random, scattered or fragmented and leap frogging forms of urban land use, not classified as core urban fabric (town, city, …) nor classified as real ‘countryside’ are studied in this paper. With a thorough literature study of more than 200 publications, a number of interesting conclusions about this important environmental and socio-economical phenomenon can be made. At first, it is generally described as either a type of land use or land use dynamic functioning as ‘divide’ between city and countryside (the urban fringe theory), or it is very often described as the dynamic and fast transformation of rural land into urban land (the sprawl approach). In some cases it forms its own ‘landscape’ and it is called the peri-urban or more correctly semi-urban area. Generally, there seems to be a lack of good definitions and frameworks, although it is studied often and in various scientific disciplines. Prominently, there is an always present dichotomy between rural and urban in all concepts, theories and definitions proposed.
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