Ecology of Cities and Towns
A Comparative Approach
Edited by Mark J. McDonnell
Edited by Amy K. Hahs
Edited by Jürgen H. Breuste
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 2009
Online Publication Date:March 2010
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511609763.022
Subjects: Ecology and conservation
Urban landscape: general characteristics and tendencies
Urbanisation is one of the most important processes changing the landscapes of our planet. Worldwide, urbanised landscapes are growing rapidly. Even in Europe where this process is not very fast, urban landscapes today cover a great deal of former agricultural and forest landscapes in the surroundings of cities and towns, creating a patchwork of large, often connected areas. Between areas with a strong urban influence, cultivated landscapes under modern agricultural use are often found. The interface of these two landscape types is an area of conflict between continued agricultural use and development pressure to expand the urban landscape. Therefore, urban landscapes cannot be reduced to the limits and administrative borders of existing towns and cities, but include a zone approximately 10 kilometres wide surrounding cities or towns – the suburban zone (Breuste,1996). Figure 21.1 shows the distribution of urban landscapes in Germany where the daily total growth rate of urban land-use forms (settlements and traffic areas) is very high – 70.4 ha per day.
Urban landscapes consist of a mixture of land-use forms which can be divided into built areas, such as residential estates or industrial areas, and cultivated areas, such as the remains of former agricultural and forest landscapes. It is not easy to compare patterns and processes between different urban landscapes because they differ in the density of built-up areas, the composition of the land-use mixture and the nature of the pre-existing landscape (Breuste, 1995).
Reference Type: reference-list