, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 73-86
Date: 13 Mar 2010

Accelerating urban sprawl in depopulating regions: a scenario analysis for the Elbe River Basin

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Abstract

The paper presents a method and results for the generation of future residential land use scenarios for the Elbe River Basin. The challenge of this study is to develop scenarios that consider two processes, accelerated urban sprawl in growth centres while peripheral regions are depopulating. The question is whether the demand for built-up areas can be reduced to achieve the objective of the German sustainability strategy. Current socioeconomic developments of the study area are described, and approaches to calculate residential land use demand are reviewed. Regionalised socioeconomic scenarios of the IPCC-SRES as well as households and housing forecasts are applied to calculate residential land demand for regions. The Land Use Scanner, a spatially explicit land use change model, is then used to allocate the demand on grid-cells within the spatial planning units. The results show a shift of residential developments from urban areas in general to agglomerations leading to a polarisation of developments. Residential land consumption can only be minimised to achieve the sustainable development goals if a strict land use policy with the implementation of higher building densities, activation of inner city quarters and application of effective planning instruments is followed.