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Scenario-based urban growth allocation in a rapidly developing area: a modeling approach for sustainability analysis of an urban-coastal coupled system

Goodarzi, Mehdi Sheikh, Sakieh, Yousef, Navardi, Shabnam
Environment, development and sustainability 2017 v.19 no.3 pp. 1103-1126
ecological footprint, environmental protection, land use planning, landscapes, models, natural resources conservation, sustainable development, tourism, urbanization, Iran
Being located in an urban-coastal coupled system, the Hashtpar City is one of the most attractive areas for urban construction, tourism, agricultural activities and environmental protection in northern Iran. To resolve the issues between land developers and environmental conservation agencies, we conducted a scenario-based urban growth allocation procedure through the SLEUTH model. The scenarios consisted of ‘business as usual’, ‘managed urban growth’ and ‘environmentally sound growth’ that were introduced by modification of model parameters and exclusion layer. The resultant urban growth arrangements were compared for composition and configuration attributes of landscape patterns. According to the results, the pattern of urbanized lands under managed urban growth option demonstrated better connectivity and compactness of urban patches, while the two other scenarios generated a highly fragmented pattern. The managed urban growth can be considered as a compromised solution between other scenarios since it simultaneously takes into accounts both developers and environment protectors points’ of views. On this basis, a combination of centralized and decentralized urban land use planning is a recommended strategy for our urban-coastal environment to fulfill the purposes of a sustainable development process. The findings of the present article suggest that further expansion of the major urban core in the targeted area should be prohibited since it can lead to an urban patch with considerable physical size and noticeable ecological footprint.