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Report: Sprawl Threatens to Swallow the Planet

By 2030, cities will have tripled in size since 2000. Unmanaged, incessant growth is threatening the planet, according to a new report from the World Resources Institute.
February 5, 2019, 2pm PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Lagos, Nigeria.

The World Resources Institute released its “Upward and Outward Growth: Managing Urban Expansion for More Equitable Cities in the Global South” report last week, complicating the narrative of urbanization as a vertical process.

"Metropolises aren’t simply building up, they’re expanding out, and doing both at unprecedented rates that have serious consequences for the economy and the environment," writes Patrick Sisson to explain his take on the new report.

To complete the study, "[r]esearchers examined growth patterns for nearly 500 urban areas, using satellite imagery and radar data to measure growth vertically and horizontally," according to Sisson. "The results suggest land-use and density may be one of the defining issues of the next few decades."

The report puts the onus on cities in the Global South to plan a more sustainable future—although efforts of cities like London and Paris to cut emissions is also given credit for making a difference.

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Published on Friday, February 1, 2019 in Curbed
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