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Modelling population structure in the context of urban land use change in Europe

Terama, Emma, Clarke, Elizabeth, Rounsevell, Mark D. A., Fronzek, Stefan, Carter, Timothy R.
Regional environmental change 2019 v.19 no.3 pp. 667-677
age structure, growth models, land use change, population dynamics, urban areas, urbanization, Europe
Population structure and dynamics are important drivers of land use. In this article, we present the methods and outcomes of integrating population projections across multiple spatial scales with an urban growth model. By linking shared socioeconomic pathway (SSP)-specific national population projections to present-day population distributions at a sub-national scale, we describe a downscaling approach that provides input into a regional urban growth (RUG) model for Europe. The allocation of population acts as a key driver for residential urban demand especially in the SSP5-based scenario, and therefore regional (sub-national) urban growth. Sub-national population trends can deviate strongly from national averages stemming from current population age structures: this creates different urban land use patterns and demand for artificial surfaces. We see strong population dependence in the regional development of urban areas across Europe, and the effects caused by age structure and sub-national population dynamics.