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Forecasting Urban Expansion Impacts

+ Brandon Fuller

In a recent PNAS paper, Karen Seto, Burak Güneralp, and Lucy Hutyra offer new forecasts of global urban expansion and take stock of potential impacts on biodiversity and carbon emissions. Brad Plumer and Nate Berg post on the paper at Wonkblog and the Atlantic Cities Blog, respectively. From Plumer’s post:

If cities around the world grow as they’re supposed to by 2030, the total amount of land taken up by urban areas will nearly double, adding an additional 1.2 million square kilometers. Nearly half of that growth will occur in Asia—mostly in China and India. But Africa is expected to see a large boom as well, particularly in five key areas: the Nile River in Egypt; the coast of West Africa; the northern shores of Lake Victoria; the northern regions of Nigeria; and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. This rapid growth, the authors point out, could have significant environmental impacts…[The authors] point out that it’s worth getting a handle on the potential side effects now…

Estimating the extent of urban expansion, is a task at the heart of Solly Angel’s new book, Planet of Cities. Solly recently blogged an excerpt from Chapter 16, Urban Expansion and the Loss of Cultivated Lands.

Tile image by NASA's Marshall Space Station.

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