Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Growth of cities endangers global environment, according to new analysis

Date:
August 20, 2011
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
The explosive growth of cities worldwide over the next two decades poses significant risks to people and the global environment, according to a new meta-analysis.

Manhattan at sunset.
Credit: © Ilja Mašνk / Fotolia

The explosive growth of cities worldwide over the next two decades poses significant risks to people and the global environment, according to a meta-analysis published August 19 in PLoS ONE.

Researchers from Yale, Arizona State, Texas A&M and Stanford predict that by 2030 urban areas will expand by 590,000 square miles -- nearly the size of Mongolia -- to accommodate the needs of 1.47 billion more people living in urban areas.

"It is likely that these cities are going to be developed in places that are the most biologically diverse," said Karen Seto, the study's lead author and associate professor in the urban environment at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "They're going to be growing and expanding into forests, biological hotspots, savannas, coastlines -- sensitive and vulnerable places."

Urban areas, they found, have been expanding more rapidly along coasts. "Of all the places for cities to grow, coasts are the most vulnerable. People and infrastructure are at risk to flooding, tsunamis, hurricanes and other environmental disasters," said Seto.

The study provides the first estimate of how fast urban areas globally are growing and how fast they may grow in the future. "We know a lot about global patterns of urban population growth, but we know significantly less about how urban areas are changing," she said. "Changes in land cover associated with urbanization drive many environmental changes, from habitat loss and agricultural land conversion to changes in local and regional climate."

The researchers examined peer-reviewed studies that used satellite data to map urban growth and found that from 1970 to 2000 the world's urban footprint had grown by at least 22,400 square miles -- half the size of Ohio.

"This number is enormous, but, in actuality, urban land expansion has been far greater than what our analysis shows because we only looked at published studies that used satellite data," said Seto. "We found that 48 of the most populated urban areas have been studied using satellite data, with findings in peer-reviewed journals. This means that we're not tracking the physical expansion of more than half of the world's largest cities."

Half of urban land expansion in China is driven by a rising middle class, whereas the size of cities in India and Africa is driven primarily by population growth. "Rising incomes translate into rising demand for bigger homes and more land for urban development, which has big implications for biodiversity conservation, loss of carbon sinks and energy use."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karen C. Seto, Michail Fragkias, Burak Gόneralp, Michael K. Reilly. A Meta-Analysis of Global Urban Land Expansion. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (8): e23777 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023777

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Growth of cities endangers global environment, according to new analysis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110819155428.htm>.
Yale University. (2011, August 20). Growth of cities endangers global environment, according to new analysis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110819155428.htm
Yale University. "Growth of cities endangers global environment, according to new analysis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110819155428.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins