Peri-urbanization and Global Environmental Change

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Peri-urban Area

Last Updated: 2009-05-15

As a specific and non-neutral space, a peri-urban area refers to a transition or interaction zone, where urban and rural activities are juxtaposed, and landscape features are subject to rapid modifications, inducing by human activities (Douglas, 2006). PeriˇVurban areas, which might include valuable protected areas, forested hills, preserved woodlands, prime agricultural lands and important wetlands, can provide essential life support services for urban residents. McGranahan et al. (2004) observed that periˇVurban zones are often far more environmentally unstable than either urban or rural settings. From ecosystemˇ¦s point of view, physical, chemical and biological factors generally interact among themselves, and are interrelated with socioeconomic forces. These factors have their own functions, which can be enhanced or reduced depending on the conditions of other factors in the same system (Fang et al., 2005).


A peri-urban area is not only a zone of direct impact experiencing the immediate impacts of land demands from urban growth and pollution, but is also a wider market-related zone of influence that is recognizable in terms of the handling of agricultural and natural resource products (Simon et al., 2006). When urban grows disorderedly and sprawls to peri-urban area, this process can be referred as peri-urbanization. Peri-urbanization can be regarded both as a driver and an effecter of global environmental changes. Observing land use and land cover change over time can perceive effects and impacts of urbanization on peri-urban areas. The complex interactions between urban land use, environmental change, and socioeconomic system on peri-urban area must be approached from systems perspective to understand their dynamic interactions and function and services of periˇVurbanˇ¦s ecosystems provide to cities.


1.    Fang, S., Gertner, G. Z., Sum, Z., and Anderson, A. A. (2005). The impact of interactions in spatial simulation of the dynamics of urban sprawl, Landscape and Urban Planning, 73: 294-306.

2.    McGranahan, G., Satterthwaite, D., and Tacoli, C. (2004). Urban-rural change, boundary problems and environmental burdens, International Institute for Environment and Development.

3.    Douglas, I., (2006). Peri-urban ecosystems and societies transitional zones and contrasting values. In  Peri-Urban Interface: Approaches to Sustainable Natural and Human Resource Use, edited by D. McGregor, D. Simon, and D. Thompson, pp. 18-29. London, UK: Earthscan Publications Ltd.

4.    Simon, D., McGregor, D., and Thompson, D. (2006). Contemporary perspectives on the peri-urban zones of cities in development areas, In Peri-Urban Interface: Approaches to Sustainable Natural and Human Resource Use, edited by D. McGregor, D. Simon, and D. Thompson, pp. 3-17. London, UK: Earthscan Publications Ltd.


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