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

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) — A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

AP (July 30, 2014) — Scientists in Texas are studying the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 670 people across West Africa this year. Right now, the disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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