Haritima : The Environmental Society Of Hansraj College

Urban Sprawl and Its Impacts



Nikita Jangra 

                                            “Biodiversity is part of us,

                             As we humans are part of Mother Nature”

In today’s world, we are losing our biodiversity at an alarming rate. One of the reasons behind this problem is URBAN SPRAWL.

It is basically unrestricted growth of geographical boundaries and the population of an area.

  • It is a transition zone with indefinite borders between rural and urban areas. Though it is a result of unplanned and uncontrolled growth, in the future, it will prove to be more devastating.
  • In other terms, expansion of industry, agricultural lands, and business sectors toward city boundaries are part of urban growth, and that growth in negative terms is called Urban Sprawl.
  • According to European Environment Agency (EEA), Urban Sprawl is the physical pattern of low-density expansion of large urban areas.


Causes of Urban Sprawl:-

  1. Population Expansion: This leads to overcrowding in cities and people tend to move outskirts of the city.
  2. High Living Standard: More Space is required per person.
  3. Shifting towards a more private automobile.
  4. Lack of Green Environment, High Noise Pollution.
  5. Shifting of Big Companies to outskirts of the city for easy transportation and more space.
  6. Price of Land: Outside the main city, the price of land is low for agricultural and settlement purposes.
  7. Weak land use planning and poor implementation of city plans.

Impacts of Urban Sprawl:-

  • Environmental Impacts –
  1. Loss of Biodiversity
  2. Loss of farmland and soil fertility
  3. Increase in Urban Heat Island Effect
  4. Increase in Air and Water Pollution (Quantity and Quality of water will be affected)
  5. Have a direct impact on Climate Change and Ozone Depletion.

Economic Impacts –

  1. Higher demand for transportation and infrastructure results in more taxation and more economic load.
  2. Health Issues: Increase in Chronic diseases and more respiratory problems.
  3. Rise in Hunger: As production of food will reduce due to lesser available agricultural land.
  4. Security Issues: Accident cases will drastically rise in sprawl areas.

Initiatives to be taken:

  • Land Recycling- It is the reuse of Brownfield (contaminated land)

Adopted by Germany

  • Limiting the total extent of designated building zones.
  • Encouraging compact settlements in cities.
  • Promoting the use of public transportation.
  • Generating awareness among people about the long term consequences of urban sprawl.
  • Precautions should be taken to preserve the sustainability of agricultural land.

According to a Report, ‘by 2030, about half of the total population will be there in urban areas in Asian Countries and by 2045 in African Countries’.

A Sustainable approach is the only realistic solution to all Environment degrading problems.


Nikita Jangra

B.Sc. Life Science, 3rd Year

Hansraj College

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