Did Brisbane grow smartly? Drivers of city growth 1991-2001 and lessons for current policies
Urban areas are growing unsustainably around the world; however, the growth patterns and their associated drivers vary between contexts. As a result, research has highlighted the need to adopt case study based approaches to stimulate the development of new theoretic understandings. Using land-cover data sets derived from Landsat images (30 m × 30 m), this research identifies both patterns and drivers of urban growth in a period (1991-2001) when a number of policy acts were enacted aimed at fostering smart growth in Brisbane, Australia. A linear multiple regression model was estimated using the proportion of lands that were converted from non-built-up (1991) to built-up usage (2001) within a suburb as a dependent variable to identify significant drivers of land-cover changes. In addition, the hot spot analysis was conducted to identify spatial biases of land-cover changes, if any. Results show that the built-up areas increased by 1.34% every year. About 19.56% of the non-built-up lands in 1991 were converted into built-up lands in 2001. This conversion pattern was significantly biased in the northernmost and southernmost suburbs in the city. This is due to the fact that, as evident from the regression analysis, these suburbs experienced a higher rate of population growth, and had the availability of habitable green field sites in relatively flat lands. The above findings suggest that the policy interventions undertaken between the periods were not as effective in promoting sustainable changes in the environment as they were aimed for.
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