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Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3302-3327; doi:10.3390/su5083302

The Environmental Impacts of Sprawl: Emergent Themes from the Past Decade of Planning Research

*  and
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 111 Temple Buell Hall, MC-619, 611 Lorado Taft Drive, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 February 2013 / Revised: 11 July 2013 / Accepted: 15 July 2013 / Published: 5 August 2013
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This article reviews studies published in English language planning journals since 2001 that focus on the environmental impacts of sprawl. We organise our analysis of the reviewed literature around: (1) the conceptualisation or measurement of sprawl; (2) a comparison of research methods employed and findings with respect to four categories of environmental impacts—air, energy, land, and water; and (3) an exploration of emergent and cross-cutting themes. We hypothesise that the trend towards breaking down silos observable in other areas of planning scholarship is also reflected in the recent sprawl literature and structure our review to test this proposition. International in scope, our work demonstrates how focusing on outcomes can facilitate balanced comparisons across geographic contexts with varying rates of urbanisation and affluence. We find that the sprawl research published in planning journals over the past decade frequently engages with broader themes of resilience and justice, increasingly considers multiple environmental outcomes, and suggests a convergence in the way sprawl is studied that transcends national boundaries as well as the developing-developed country dichotomy.
Keywords: sprawl; environmental impact; resilience; justice; urban planning sprawl; environmental impact; resilience; justice; urban planning
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Wilson, B.; Chakraborty, A. The Environmental Impacts of Sprawl: Emergent Themes from the Past Decade of Planning Research. Sustainability 2013, 5, 3302-3327.

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