Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The causes of soil consumption

14.06.2016

The soil is still under threat from urban sprawl. Small municipalities with little planning capacity and more easily accessible conurbations in particular are doing little to counter the issue. Researchers from the National Research Programme "Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource" (NRP 68) have analysed the reasons for this by surveying Swiss municipalities.

Since the 1950s, urban sprawl in Switzerland has been progressing virtually unchecked. The trend towards greater levels of soil consumption is expected to continue until the middle of this century, albeit at a slower pace.

A group of researchers led by Felix Kienast from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) has investigated this issue as part of the National Research Programme "Sustainable use of soil as a resource" (NRP 68). The aim was to investigate the causes behind urban sprawl.

Transport links favour urban sprawl

A statistical analysis of various available data sets for soil consumption and socio-economic development showed that urban sprawl and its impact on soil consumption cannot be adequately explained by population growth alone. Other developments have had a much more significant influence, such as the increase in single-occupant households.

In particular, a municipality's transport links favour urban sprawl. Multi-decade comparisons have shown that once a certain degree of urbanisation has been reached, the effect of good accessibility is reversed and it encourages consolidation. So at present, it is the relatively easily accessible, but not yet highly urbanised conurbations that are most affected by urban sprawl.

Almost 70% of Swiss municipalities completed a survey* on their spatial planning activities. As a result, the research team was able to analyse the applied planning instruments by canton, municipality size and type of municipality. This highlighted a strong connection to the size of the municipality.

Support in a planning association

In many small municipalities, Town Chancellors bear the administrative burden of planning activities. Larger municipalities often have an administrative department (for example, the building authority), which also handles planning activities, or they may even have a separate spatial planning department. Such municipalities are much better equipped to employ newer and more sophisticated planning instruments, such as special land use plans with urban planning requirements.

Since they are under significant settlement pressure, urban centres and conurbations enforce stricter planning measures than small and peripheral municipalities, for example, limiting low-density areas (estates with detached houses) or coordinating zoning with public transport provision. The more active of the small communities tend to focus on measures to prevent land grabbing or they apply very low usage figures that are intended to promote a compact residential area and consolidated conurbation development.

The analyses also illustrate that the municipalities should not be considered in isolation. Spatial planning measures and the development of a municipality always have a significant impact on surrounding municipalities. Researchers’ recommendations: Implementing instruments to combat urban sprawl to maximum effect requires a high level of regional coordination. Small municipalities with little planning capacity need professional support, for example, in the form of a planning association.

(*) Kaiser N. et al.: Raumplanung in den Schweizer Gemeinden: Ergebnisse einer Umfrage, WSL Berichte, Volume 42, 2016, ISSN 2296-3456 (download) http://www.wsl.ch/dienstleistungen/publikationen/pdf/15446.pdf

"Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource" (NRP 68)

The Swiss National Science Foundation has been mandated by the Federal Council to conduct the National Research Programme "Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource" (NRP 68). The aim is to compile knowledge about soil systems as well as evaluation instruments and strategies for dealing with soil for political decision-making purposes. The overall final recommendations of NRP 68 will be published in different syntheses reports starting from 2018.

Contact

Prof Felix Kienast
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)
Zürcherstrasse 111
CH-8903 Birmensdorf
Phone: +41 (0)44 739 23 66
E-mail: felix.kienast@wsl.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/newsroom/Pages/news-160614-press-release-th... Press release "The causes of soil consumption"
http://www.nfp68.ch/de NRP 68 "Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource"
http://p3.snf.ch/Project-142996 Project in the SNSF P3 research database
http://www.nfp68.ch/en/projects/key-aspect-4-geoinformation-and-governance/proje... NRP 68 urban sprawl project
https://twitter.com/snsf_ch SNSF on Twitter

Media Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: SNF land use population growth soil systems spatial planning urban planning

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht 100 % Organic Farming in Bhutan – a Realistic Target?
15.06.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

nachricht What the size distribution of organisms tells us about the energetic efficiency of a lake
05.06.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

Im Focus: Water is not the same as water

Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cementless fly ash binder makes concrete 'green'

19.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Overdosing on Calcium

19.06.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>