Dilemma of Vibrant City and Endless Urban Growth, Lessons from Alexandria, Egypt

Azaz, Lotfy (2015) Dilemma of Vibrant City and Endless Urban Growth, Lessons from Alexandria, Egypt. REAL CORP 2015. PLAN TOGETHER – RIGHT NOW – OVERALL. From Vision to Reality for Vibrant Cities and Regions. Proceedings of 20th International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 759-765.

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Urban planners and visionary leaders always have dreams of designing and establishing new vibrant cities or making new history by regenerating old cities. When the city (new or revived) starts to be “vibrant”, it begun to attract more residents to work and live in it. The city will grow and expand as a natural result of that. This continuous urban growth may lead to dangerous environmental impacts. Some cities during growth may consume valuable cultivated lands to provide spaces for accelerated demands of urban development projects. This leads to “Urban desertification”. Moreover, future scenarios of these cities tell us that urban growth will continue and the city will expand consuming valuable resources. In this case, some important questions will arise; do we need this endless urban growth? Can we bear the consequences of this endless urban growth? Do we need to control this growth to keep the city vibrant? Or we just leave the city grow endlessly? This paper will try to address these questions on Alexandria of Egypt. Alexandria was a dream of Alexander III the Great. Alexander ordered that a city be designed and founded in his name at the mouth of river Nile, as trading and military Macedonian outpost, the first of many to come. He never lived to see it built, but Alexandria will become a major economic and cultural center in the Mediterranean world not only during the Macedonian rule in Egypt but centuries after. Alexandria witnessed a continuous urban growth from the beginning of the Mohammed Ali era (1805) up to the present time. In 1905, Alexandria's 370 thousand inhabitants lived in an area of about 4 km2 between the two harbors. Since that time the city has expanded rapidly, eastwards and westwards, beyond its medieval walls. It presently occupies a built-up area of about 300 km2 and has a ten-fold increase in population at 4 millions in 1996, and become 4.7 millions in 2014, with a density of 2,760 per km². The urban physical expansion and change were detected using Landsat satellite images of 1984 and 1993. The images were classified using a tailored classification scheme with accuracy of 93.82% and 95.27% for 1984 and 1993 images respectively. This high accuracy enabled detecting land use/cover changes with high confidence using a post-classification comparison method. One of the most important findings here is the loss of cultivated land in favour of urban expansion. If the current loss rates continued, 75% of green lands would be lost by year 2191. These hazardous rates call for an urban growth management policy that can preserve such valuable resources to achieve sustainable urban development. The starting point of any management programme will be based on the modelling of the future growth. Modelling techniques can help in defining the scenarios of urban growth in the future. In this study, the SLEUTH urban growth model was applied to predict future urban expansion in Alexandria until the year 2055. The application of this model in Alexandria of Egypt with its different environmental characteristics is the first application outside USA and Europe. The results revealed that future urban growth would continue in the edges of the current urban extent, which means the cultivated lands in the east and the southeast of the city will continue to lose more day by day from their area.To deal with such crisis, there is a serious need for a comprehensive urban growth management programme that can be based on the best practices in similar situations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: monitoring, urban growth, spatial planning, Egypt, Alexandria
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2016 14:13
Last Modified: 23 Mar 2016 14:13
URI: http://repository.corp.at/id/eprint/87

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