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A framework to analyse urban sprawl in the French Mediterranean coastal zone

Robert, Samuel, Fox, Dennis, Boulay, Guilhem, Grandclément, Antoine, Garrido, Marie, Pasqualini, Vanina, Prévost, Aurélie, Schleyer-Lindenmann, Alexandra, Trémélo, Marie-Laure
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.2 pp. 559-572
coasts, environmental protection, issues and policy, urban planning, urbanization, Europe, Mediterranean region
As in many other European countries, urbanisation and urban sprawl along the French Mediterranean coast are a major concern. Understanding this phenomenon requires both multi-level and multi-disciplinary approaches. In this perspective, this article presents a framework for the observation and analysis of urban sprawl in the French Mediterranean coastal zone. Developed in the context of a scientific coastal observatory with four contrasting study sites, the framework was designed to structure the observation and analysis of urban sprawl dynamics and their driver variables. Although urban expansion is currently slowing in coastal zones, local exceptions can be found and accounted for by historical urban planning and environmental protection measures, local residential tax policies and contradictory perceptions of coastal zones by residents. Our multi-disciplinary initiative is capable of integrating different temporal and spatial scales and has proven relevant in analysing urban sprawl in coastal areas. It shows the need to study coastal areas at finer scales to identify specific dynamics in their local contexts, since these represent the scale at which administrative decisions are made.