Urban sprawl in Europe

Urban sprawl in Europe - joint European Environment Agency - FOEN report

There is growing evidence that urban sprawl is having an increasingly negative effect on the environment and on the quality of life across Europe. Existing actions to prevent, contain or control such development have had limited results. Better targeted measures are necessary. That is the main conclusion of a joint European Environment Agency (EEA) and Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) report published last June 2016.


The report, Urban sprawl in Europe, reviews the low-density and scattered expansion of many cities that often comes as a result of uncontrolled growth, which has continued in Europe over recent decades. Urban sprawl involves the expansion of large urban areas into surrounding undeveloped areas including the countryside and agricultural land. According to the report, the level of sprawl increased in all European countries in the 2000s and it continues to grow. The report underlines the need for better policy measures and knowledge tools to address urban sprawl’s negative impacts. The report aims to support more sustainable political decision making and better urban planning across Europe.

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