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The Dynamics of Urban Sprawl

The dynamics of urban sprawl: Land-use changes, food supply and sustainable agricultural production systems in the arid and semi-arid zones is a 4 year project funded by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (FORMAS).  

The Center for Sustainable Development, The Department of Economics, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden, and ICRISAT (India) are in collaboration to implement this research project. 

  

The aim of this project  is to identify the resilience and adaptedness criteria by focusing on two different but continuous agronomic systems in developing countries – one arid and the other, semi-arid. The specific urban systems within these will be “Cairo” in the Egyptian arid zone and “Hyderabad” in the Indian semi-arid zone. This allows an investigation and comparison between agronomic variations  (arid vs. semi-arid systems), institutional variations (complicated transition-to-democracy vs. stable democracy), and regional variations  (South Asia vs. MENA). In addition, the project will identify the interactions in the form of a system-resilience framework that map how high-rates of urban sprawl cause land- use changes that affect competing use of natural resources such as land and water. Inter-linked rural systems’ resilience to these changes is determined by its ability to self-organize, learn from- and absorb the changes. There are strong feedbacks of this to the pattern of urban growth through various mechanisms, one of which is migration. The outcome of these transformative processes is how ‘adapted’ the coupled systems are, reflected by the ability to respond to food security challenges. The adaptedness is also reflected in how well the system is able to innovate and make use of newer opportunities. This schema provides the scope to assess whether a coupled system has the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances without disturbing the delivery of its vital goods and services.