Article

Swimming pools as indicator of urban sprawl: An exploratory analysis in a mediterranean city

Authors:
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona - Autonomous University of Barcelona
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Abstract

Studies relating form and functions of cities indicate sprawl as an intriguing research issue, especially for certain typologies of cities. Although with inherent differences on a local scale, Mediterranean cities offer a kaleidoscopic overview of sprawl morphologies that require dedicated monitoring tools. The present study provides an original assessment of recent urbanization processes in the Mediterranean region by considering swimming pools as a 'sprawl landmark'. Two indicators ('pools per population' and 'pools per area') are derived from digital interpretation of Google Earth diachronic imagery at two points in time (early 2000s and early 2010s) in a compact Mediterranean city (Athens, Greece) which is actually evolving towards urban scattering. The spatial distribution of swimming pools in Athens is strongly polarized with the 'pools per population' indicator being associated to low-density, isolated settlements and the 'pools per area' indicator growing in medium-low density, discontinuous settlements. Both indicators were validated through correlation with independent variables assessing sprawl patterns on a municipal scale. The indicators proposed respond to basic criteria such as easy computation and graphical representation, flexibility, cheapness and comprehensibility to non-technical stakeholders.

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... areas of the Italian coast (Salvati et al. 2015), the Costa del Sol (Raya and Benítez 2002), and Majorca (Salv a 2002). The spread of residential tourism in the Mediterranean is due to a variety of reasons; for example, affordable cost of living for Western and Northern Europeans; frequent and inexpensive flying connections to main European destinations; low taxes; and free or cheap health services, among other amenities. ...
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The cost of sprawl-revisited. Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP)
  • R W Burchell
  • N A Shad
  • D Listokin
  • H Phillips
  • A Downs
  • S Seskin
  • J Davis
  • T Moore
  • D Helton
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Burchell, R. W., Shad, N. A., Listokin, D., Phillips, H., Downs, A., Seskin, S., Davis, J., Moore, T., Helton, D. and Gall, M. (1998). The cost of sprawl-revisited. Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP). Report 39, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC, 83-125.
Urban sprawl in Europe: landscapes, land-use change and policy
  • C Couch
  • G Petschel-Held
  • L Leontidou
Couch, C., Petschel-Held, G. and Leontidou, L. (2007). Urban sprawl in Europe: landscapes, land-use change and policy. (Oxford: Blackwell).