Urban growth pattern and sustainable development: a comparative study of municipalities in the Seoul Metropolitan Region
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The main purpose of this study was to obtain a better understanding of the impact of urban growth and change on sustainability based on a comparative study of municipalities comprising Gyeonggi Province within the Seoul Metropolitan Region, Korea over the 1990-2000 period. To examine the impact of urban growth and change on sustainability, this study selected 38 sustainability indicators (population density, waste recycling rate, time spent commuting, etc.) and then measured progress towards sustainability in 31 study areas for the years 1990, 1995 and 2000. Data for this study were drawn from the 1990-2000 censuses and local government publications. Statistical methods such as t-test, analysis of variance and factor analysis were used to answer the research questions. This study led to five major findings. First, the study areas with higher densities showed the lower mean values of sustainability. This result implies that increased density does not necessarily result in improved sustainability. Second, the level of sustainability has increased over time in urban areas with green belt, but the mean differences were not statistically significant. On the contrary, the level of sustainability continued to decline in their surrounding areas over the study period. In particular, there was a significant decline between 1995 and 2000. Third, for the entire region, the overall level of sustainability has not improved over the study period. However, different trends of sustainability have emerged within different parts of the region. Fourth, there were significant differences in the mean values for the level of sustainability among three zones within the region. Overall, the level of sustainability was much higher in the nature preservation zone (where development projects are strictly controlled to protect natural resources) than in the growth management zone (where urban development consistent with the planned land use is allowed) and the over-concentration control zone (where further development is discouraged to control population growth) during the study period. Fifth, although there were some variations in elements affecting the pattern of sustainability for each year, key elements influencing the pattern of sustainability remained relatively stable over the study period.