Research Topic

Peri-Urbanization and Land Use Change

About this Research Topic

As big cities in developing countries urbanize, large areas of rural land are incorporated into the urban perimeter. This is generally acknowledged as the peri-urbanization process, where land is converted into different urban land uses such as housing development, transport routes, industrial and commercial zones, recreational areas, or city-oriented agricultural production spaces. However, this unequal metropolitan expansion leaves peripheral spaces in a disadvantaged position. It is evident that such peripheral development concentrates a large proportion of the poorer groups in the most precarious settlements, most of them in irregular conditions. They are also marginalized from the best qualities of life, efficient public services, and urban subcenters with goods and services.

To address the unequal development between the center and periphery, a new strategy is required for the development of metropolitan space – one that reaches a balance between these two zones with a more democratic and sustainable approach, socio-economic opportunities, and citizen participation. To progress in this direction, it is necessary to first understand all dimensions of the peri-urbanization process. Governance bodies need to manage these spaces as profound land-use changes are taking place with severe environmental deterioration due to its expansion. In essence, the urban periphery is a heterogenous space with various types of peripheries – rich, poor, traditional, and modern. It is a transition space where the city moves forward and rural areas disappear, a territory that gradually concentrates new development poles. There are two clear priorities for governments: to ensure that peri-urban spaces are no longer the most lagging areas of the metropolis; and to convert these spaces into sustainable areas in terms of urban forms, transport, energy alternative sources, and environmental services. In terms of governance, it is necessary to take an approach of participatory planning that incorporates the view of different actors: private capital, multiscale government bodies, environmental preservation, and local traditions. Each city should have one overarching city project, with very close interdependencies between peripheral and central zones. It is imperative to define a target vision in the long term for these spaces, and to model future scenarios to estimate future costs in terms of housing, infrastructure construction, energy consumption and environmental deterioration.

This Research Topic aims to emphasize the main characteristics of peri-urban zones, to highlight its dynamic development, and to identify the most fundamental challenges for its territorial management. Researchers are invited to contribute original research, policy and practice reviews, community case study, and conceptual analysis that exemplifies the profound manner of urban peripheries’ various forms of transformation in cities in developing countries. Such changes should be supported by evidence that reflects the realities of these spaces. The following is a list of specific themes we would like contributors to address:

· The delimitation of urban peripheries in different urban contexts for management, planning, and governance.
· Features of diffused urbanization in peripheral spaces such as expansion patterns and land uses.
· Urban expansion and urban-rural transitions; segregation, informal settlements, and poverty.
· Urban mobility and commuting patterns incorporating peripheral spaces.
· Peripheral expansion and the formation of new centralities, a polycentric periphery?
· Environmental deterioration, impacts, and conflicts in peripheral spaces.
· The production dimension of the urban periphery related to city and regional territory.
· Social actors and the pressure for land-use change; speculation and real estate developments.


Keywords: Peri-urbanization, disperse urbanization, informal settlements, poverty, environmental deterioration, urban governance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

As big cities in developing countries urbanize, large areas of rural land are incorporated into the urban perimeter. This is generally acknowledged as the peri-urbanization process, where land is converted into different urban land uses such as housing development, transport routes, industrial and commercial zones, recreational areas, or city-oriented agricultural production spaces. However, this unequal metropolitan expansion leaves peripheral spaces in a disadvantaged position. It is evident that such peripheral development concentrates a large proportion of the poorer groups in the most precarious settlements, most of them in irregular conditions. They are also marginalized from the best qualities of life, efficient public services, and urban subcenters with goods and services.

To address the unequal development between the center and periphery, a new strategy is required for the development of metropolitan space – one that reaches a balance between these two zones with a more democratic and sustainable approach, socio-economic opportunities, and citizen participation. To progress in this direction, it is necessary to first understand all dimensions of the peri-urbanization process. Governance bodies need to manage these spaces as profound land-use changes are taking place with severe environmental deterioration due to its expansion. In essence, the urban periphery is a heterogenous space with various types of peripheries – rich, poor, traditional, and modern. It is a transition space where the city moves forward and rural areas disappear, a territory that gradually concentrates new development poles. There are two clear priorities for governments: to ensure that peri-urban spaces are no longer the most lagging areas of the metropolis; and to convert these spaces into sustainable areas in terms of urban forms, transport, energy alternative sources, and environmental services. In terms of governance, it is necessary to take an approach of participatory planning that incorporates the view of different actors: private capital, multiscale government bodies, environmental preservation, and local traditions. Each city should have one overarching city project, with very close interdependencies between peripheral and central zones. It is imperative to define a target vision in the long term for these spaces, and to model future scenarios to estimate future costs in terms of housing, infrastructure construction, energy consumption and environmental deterioration.

This Research Topic aims to emphasize the main characteristics of peri-urban zones, to highlight its dynamic development, and to identify the most fundamental challenges for its territorial management. Researchers are invited to contribute original research, policy and practice reviews, community case study, and conceptual analysis that exemplifies the profound manner of urban peripheries’ various forms of transformation in cities in developing countries. Such changes should be supported by evidence that reflects the realities of these spaces. The following is a list of specific themes we would like contributors to address:

· The delimitation of urban peripheries in different urban contexts for management, planning, and governance.
· Features of diffused urbanization in peripheral spaces such as expansion patterns and land uses.
· Urban expansion and urban-rural transitions; segregation, informal settlements, and poverty.
· Urban mobility and commuting patterns incorporating peripheral spaces.
· Peripheral expansion and the formation of new centralities, a polycentric periphery?
· Environmental deterioration, impacts, and conflicts in peripheral spaces.
· The production dimension of the urban periphery related to city and regional territory.
· Social actors and the pressure for land-use change; speculation and real estate developments.


Keywords: Peri-urbanization, disperse urbanization, informal settlements, poverty, environmental deterioration, urban governance


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

09 May 2021 Abstract
06 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

09 May 2021 Abstract
06 September 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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