By Ulrike Wissen Hayek, Jochen A.G. Jaeger, Christian Schwick, Alain Jarne, Martin Schuler, 2011

Transformation of land use in and around European cities is proceeding as fast as never before, andurban sprawl is a reality in Europe. This process is coming along with significant landscape changes that caneven lead to the loss of landscape identity. Is it possible to find indications of which regions are prone to urbansprawl in order to curtail undesired future settlement developments in time? To answer this question we usedsettlement development scenarios for Switzerland, and analysed their spatial implications using a set of fourmetrics, which allow for comparing the degree of urban sprawl in different regions. Two aspects were explored:(1) by how much settlement development could potentially increase in Switzerland, and (2) the suitability of themetrics as indicators for characterizing and assessing the development of urban sprawl. The results show thatoverall in Switzerland the urban permeation and dispersion of settlement areas is likely to increase (in all scenarios), but to different degrees. However, the results differ very much between the various types of settlement andbetween the cantons, and even a decrease in urban dispersion is possible. In combination with scenarios of settlement growth, the metrics provide useful evidence on regional characteristics such as the overall pressure ofsettlement development and likely transformations of the respective settlement types that should be taken intoaccount in spatial development concepts. There is a need for calibration of the indicators on a regional level todefine specific thresholds to limit urban sprawl.

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By Kjell Nilsson , Thomas Sick Nielsen1, Stephan Pauleit1, Joe Ravetz and Mark Rounsevell, 2008

Changing land use relationships within emerging rural-urban regions and their manifestation in phenomena such as urban sprawl and development of large transport corridors have long-lasting consequences for the regions’ sustainability. The drivers of land use changes and how they interact with regional, national and European policies need to be better understood to minimise negative consequences of urbanisation and to enhance the adaptive capacity of rural-urban regions. Rural-urban regions can become centres of sustainable development, but this requires strategies that are developed by means of participatory planning and decision making.

The scenario framework should fulfil a number of key criteria for use within the PLUREL project, such as being manageable by limiting the number of scenarios, appropriate to the urban-rural issues addressed in PLUREL, and related to the concerns of end users.

High growth scenario (hyper-tech)

This describes a future world of rapid economic growth, global population that peaks in mid-century, and the rapid spread of more efficient technologies. Investment in research and development is high and nations share knowledge and pool resources in a global research market place. Energy prices decline because supply is driven by new developments in renewable energy production and nuclear fission. The shock concerns the rapid acceleration of ICT which transforms home and work as never before. For peri-urban areas in Europe, this scenario is likely to see small »polycentric« towns and cities become even more popular. New transport technologies lead to more rapid journeys and the expansion of the commuting distances around towns and cities. This leads to peri-urbanisation and metropolitanisation of rural areas on a massive scale.

Drivers: rapid development in ICT leading to reduced commuting and transport needs, with no constraints on the location of new build.

Self-reliance scenario (extreme water)

This describes a more heterogeneous world of self reliance and preservation of local identities. While the population increases, economic development is primarily regionally-oriented, and per capita economic growth and technological change are more fragmented and slower than in the other storylines. The shock here is subtitled extreme water, and this sees rapid increase in flooding, drought and sea level rise. A year does not go by without a major event, and in some cities and regions development is seriously constrained. Peri-urban areas are strongly affected; affluent yet vulnerable city-regions such as London or the Dutch Randstad spend huge sums of money on defence and adaptation strategies. Population growth due to climate-induced migration puts more pressure on urban infrastructure and services.

Drivers: climate change reaches a tipping point leading to impacts including rapid sea level rise, flooding and water resource constraints.

Sustainability? scenario (peak oil)

This describes a future of environmental and social consciousness – a global approach to sustainable development, involving governments, businesses, media and households. Economic development is more balanced with rapid investment in resource efficiency, social equity and environmental protection. The »shock« in this scenario is driven by the real possibility of »peak oil«, that is, a decline in global oil production after reaching maximum production, leading to rapid rises in energy prices, with many social and economic effects.For peri-urban areas, high energy prices have an enormous effect on location choices as transport costs limit commuting distances. Although tele working is encouraged, most people attempt to return to larger cities and towns, and more remote rural areas decline.

Drivers: an energy price shock leading to rapidly increasing energy and transport costs and consequent changes in mobility and trade flows.

Fragmentation scenario (walls and enclaves)

Europe sees a fragmentation of society, in terms of age, ethnicity and international distrust. The voter-strong elderly population becomes increasingly dependent on the younger generation, but the working-age population is disinclined to transfer their resources, with growing intergenerational conflicts.The »shock« in this scenario will be an accelerated development towards fragmentation and social exclusion in Europe. The ethnic division of cities is driven by the increased in-migration of the working-age population from outside and within the European Union. Cities become more dispersed as younger migrants dominate city centres and older natives populate the outskirts and enclaves outside the cities – so that peri-urban areas become peri-society areas.

Drivers: low growth and accelerated fragmentation leading to behavioural shifts within society.

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By European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion, 2011

The reform of the Common Agricultural Policy in the framework of the Agenda 2000 boosted the significance of rural development in this sector policy. Rural development, in line with the Lisbon/Gothenburg Strategy, is conceived to support job creation and economic growth in rural areas in a sustainable way.Against this backdrop, this project will provide evidence on the development opportunities of diverse types of European rural areas and reveal options for improving their competitiveness. It will identify opportunities for increasing regional strengths through territorial cooperation and analyse the potential impact of climate change on the development opportunities of rural areas.

Scenario 1: Gradual climate change + Deregulated Market Economy (BAU)

In many ways this is close to a “business as usual” scenario. With the exception of a shift of agriculture towards the para-productivist model, and a substantial growth in new forms of energy production, the current processes of change would continue. This would probably be associated with a continued increase in regional differentiation.The opening decade of the new millennium saw the emergence of financial markets as the primary means of allocating resources in EU member states and heightened awareness of the implications of climate change. Despite the global crisis of 2007 – 2010, financial markets continued to function without significant regulation. Innovations in estimating risk allowed markets to account for, and communicate this risk. Though financial markets continue to be cyclical they have not, as of 2030, experienced a repeat of the 2007 – 2010 crisis. Climate change is gradual with some regions, particularly those in South, East and Central Europe, witnessing increases in mean temperatures and decreased in precipitation. Regions in the North and West of Europe also experienced increased temperatures, particularly during winter months. The incremental nature of these developments allowed the market, with limited State / EU supports, to lead the adjustment to the new conditions.

Scenario 2: Gradual climate change + Highly

Regulated EconomyIn the second scenario the impact of the credit crunch leads to a more cautious and regulated form of economic governance in which a shortage of capital inhibits both the private and public sector responses to the gradually emerging climate change effects. Limited mitigation means that even gradual climate change has significant impacts upon economic activity and quality of life in rural Europe, resulting in intensified out-migration from agrarian and sparsely populated regions. Energy costs rise but the development of renewables is modest, leading to an increasing dependence on nuclear power. Increasing freight costs provide a degree of import protection, and slow the decline of manufacturing in Europe. Reduced consumer spending and shortage of capital inhibits the expansion of the tertiary sector.

Scenario 3: Rapid Climate Change + Deregulated

Market EconomyRapid and disruptive climate change attaches a premium to land as a basic resource underpinning both adaptation and mitigation measures. Food prices rise, renewable energy production and bio-technology industries expand rapidly. Agricultural production intensifies and increasingly adopts bio-technology. There is a concentration of control of the (rural) means of production in corporate hands. The tertiary sector is buoyed up by an expansion of financial services, and private investments in research and development, although the benefits are largely restricted to accessible rural areas.

Scenario 4: Rapid Climate Change + Highly

Regulated EconomyThe rapid onset of climate change results in a coordinated consensus-based public policy response. There is rapid public investment in new forms of nuclear power and careful regulation of the use of rural land, to ensure food supplies. There are strong and selective migration flows from South, East and Central Europe into the North and West, and towards major cities. Public transport systems, using low/zero emissions technologies lead to compact urban growth. Fossil fuel use is reserved for food production, whilst cropping is also regulated to reduce the production of GHGs. The primary and secondary sectors are reinvigorated by the public policy response focused upon sustainability. The shift in favour of the tertiary sector slows or is reversed.

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Klaus R. Kunzmann, 2010

It is realistic to assume that the European space will have to face further spatial polarization, European wide, nationally and regionally. A few prosperous metropolitan city regions will remain the headquarters of the financial world and the arena of the players in the capital market, while regions, which represent the geographical and social peripheries of Europe will hardly have a chance to catch-up and escape from their lagging status. European and national policies, aiming to address spatial disparities under the banner of European and national cohesion policies, will suffer from budget constraints and increasing nationalist or regionalist policy moods. Action at the various tiers of planning and decision-making in Europe will be subordinated under the label of financial consolidation and reduction of debts.

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