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Do Green Belts Change the Shape of Urban Areas? A Preliminary Analysis of the Settlement Geography of South East England
Abstract and Figures
We embark on a preliminary exploration of the settlement geography of South East England, with specific reference to the effect that the green belt has had upon the shape and size of towns comprising this region. We argue that the green belt is likely to have had a significant effect on the geometry of settlement, distorting the geometry from the urban forms which might have arisen in the absence of such policy. We tackle this problem by hypothesizing four different scaling relations which pertain to size and shape. These are based upon allometric relations which explain population size in terms of built-up area and the urban field within which urban development take place, and upon geometric relations which explain how the irregularity of the envelope bounding urban settlements is related to the areas of the built-up development and the urban field. Using a unique and only recently available digital data base on the boundaries of settlement in South East England, we show that there are indeed significant differences between settlements which have been subject to green belt policy and those which have not been so affected. In essence, settlements which have been constrained by green belt policy are more irregular and fill less of the space available to them than settlements which are not so constrained. -from Authors
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