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Rural in Town: Traditional Agriculture, Population Trends, and Long-Term Urban Expansion in Metropolitan Rome

Department of Agricultural and Forestry Sciences (DAFNE), Tuscia University, Via San Camillo de Lellis, I-01100 Viterbo, Italy
Department of Overland Communication Ways, Foundation and Cadastral Survey, Politehnica University of Timisoara, 1A I. Curea Street, 300224 Timisoara, Romania
Department of Agriculture, University of Udine, Via del Cotonificio 114, I-33100 Udine, Italy
Department of Mathematics, Computer Science and Economics, University of Basilicata, I-85100 Potenza, Italy
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA), Via Valle della Quistione 27, I-00166 Rome, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 January 2020 / Revised: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 10 February 2020 / Published: 12 February 2020
Mediterranean regions have experienced a shift from accelerated urban growth typical of a post-industrial phase to a more recent spatial delocalization of population and economic activities reflecting discontinuous settlement expansion, land take, and the abandonment of cultivated areas around central cities. On the basis of a comprehensive analysis of land-use, settlement, and demographic indicators, the present study explores urban growth and population density over a sufficiently long time period in a metropolitan region of Southern Europe (Rome, Italy). Local-scale population trends were compared with the evolution of the primary sector (workers in agriculture, number of farms, cultivated land) between 1951 and 2011. Our results indicate non-linear growth waves alternating compact and discontinuous expansion shaping fringe land. The future development of metropolitan regions is increasingly dependent on the relationship between urban diffusion and economic viability of peri-urban agriculture. Crop abandonment and land take rates increase in local contexts where peri-urban agriculture rapidly declines. Policies managing ex-urban development and promoting the recovery of fringe soils are increasingly required to contain the expansion of dispersed settlements and preserve relict agricultural systems from land conversion to urban use. View Full-Text
Keywords: population density; low-density settlements; urban growth; Agro Romano population density; low-density settlements; urban growth; Agro Romano
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Egidi, G.; Halbac-Cotoara-Zamfir, R.; Cividino, S.; Quaranta, G.; Salvati, L.; Colantoni, A. Rural in Town: Traditional Agriculture, Population Trends, and Long-Term Urban Expansion in Metropolitan Rome. Land 2020, 9, 53.

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