Urban sprawl threatens environment

Growing cities continue to pressure ecosystems worldwide

Worldwide urban sprawl is on pace to consume an area the size of France, Germany and Spain within the next 20 years.

At the “Planet Under Pressure” conference in London in late March, experts estimated about 932,000 square miles will be developed to accommodate the rising global population, which is on pace to hit 9 billion by 2050, according to Reuters. The majority of the growth is expected to take place in urban centers as more rural residents move into cities.

“The way cities have grown since World War II is neither socially nor environmentally sustainable, and the environmental cost of ongoing urban sprawl is too great to continue,” said Karen Seto, associate professor of the urban environment at Yale University. “The North American suburb has gone global, and car-dependent urban developments are more and more the norm.”