Press Coverage for Recent Article on Global Urban Expansion

September 28, 2011

A recent article in PLOS ONE by Karen Seto, head of the Seto Lab, and three alumni of the lab, Michail Fragkias, Burak Günerlap, and Michael K. Reilly, has been featured in a number of national and international publications. The article, “A Meta-Analysis of Global Land Expansion,” quantifies global urban expansion from 1970 to 2000, forecasts future expansion to 2030 under various scenarios, and describes the drivers of growth by region and impacts of urban expansion on biodiversity. Outlets covering the findings include The New York Times, Science Daily, New Security Beat, and the Yale Daily News.

The article is among the first to provide global analysis of urban land use conversion. Its authors estimate that urban land expansion during 1970-2000 was at least 58,000 km2, an area the size of Lake Michigan, whereas urban expansion to 2030 will most likely be 1,527,000 km2, an area almost the size of Mongolia. Regions of high-biodiversity are predicted to see some of the highest levels of urban expansion, portending significant effects on critical habitats. The authors also observe that many of the fastest-growing urban areas are in low-elevation coastal areas, which are highly susceptible to climate change impacts. 

Growth of cities endangers global environment, according to new analysis.” ScienceDaily, 20 August 2011.

Barringer, Felicity “What Drives Cities’ Runaway Growth?” New York Times, 22 August 2011

Sticklor, Russell. “Karen Seto on the Impact of Expanding Cities, Part One“ New Security Beat, 1 September 2011

Sticklor, Russell. “Karen Seto on the Impact of Expanding Cities, Part Two“ New Security Beat, 1 September 2011

Moretti, Marcus. “City growth worldwide intensifies sprawl concerns, study finds.” Yale Daily News, 6 September 2011.

Zheng, Chenguang, “Urban Sprawl.” China Radio International, 28 September 2011