FEEM working papers "Note di lavoro"
2021.07
Date: 5/3/2021

Urban sprawl and air quality in European Cities: an empirical assessment


Authors:

Federica Cappelli (Roma Tre University); Gianni Guastella (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Stefano Pareglio (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)

JEL n.: Q53, R14, C21
Keywords: Air Pollution, Urban Sprawl, European Cities, Additive Models

Abstract

In this paper we estimate the relationship between urban sprawl and a measure of air quality, namely the number of days in which the PM10 concentration exceeds safeguard limits in European Union cities. Building on a multidimensional representation of sprawl, the paper employs several indicators to account for built-up area development, population density, and residential discontinuity. The paper employs generalised additive models to disentangle the non-linear effects in the variables and the interaction effects of the three sprawl dimensions. A significant and robust effect of urban morphology emerges after controlling for socio-economic, demographic, and climatic factors and the geographical location of the city. We find that urban sprawl impacts positively on pollutant concentration, but the effect is highly context-specific because of threshold effects and interactions.

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Suggested citation: F. Cappelli, G. Guastella, S. Pareglio, (2021), 'Urban sprawl and air quality in European Cities: an empirical assessment', Nota di Lavoro 7.2021, Milano, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

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