Population dynamics and land cover changes of urban areas

  • Nikola Krunić Institute of Architecture and Spatial & Urban Planning of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Marija Maksin Institute of Architecture and Spatial & Urban Planning of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Saša Milijić Institute of Architecture and Spatial & Urban Planning of Serbia, Belgrade
  • Olgica Bakić Institute of Architecture and Spatial & Urban Planning of Serbia, Belgrade
  • Jasmina Đurđević Institute of Architecture and Spatial & Urban Planning of Serbia, Belgrade
Keywords: population development and dynamics, land cover change, Belgrade, Rome, Sofia


In order to enable efficient management of spatial development of cities, it is essential to analyse changes in land cover, in the ‘consumption’ of the land surrounding cities and the attained rationality with respect to the use of already urban land (reflected in the urban population density). This paper provides an overview of the land cover changes in the period between 1990 and 2006, and the potential correlation between the dynamics of the total population change on the one hand, and the land cover change on the other. The initial hypotheses of this paper are: (1) occupation and sealing of productive soil in peri-urban zones is not proportional to the population dynamics of cities and their metropolitan areas; and (2) expansion of soil sealing in peri-urban zones is not significantly affected by the differences with regard to the natural surroundings and historical development of cities, nor by these cities being developed cities or cities in transition, capitalistic or post-socialist cities, etc. These hypotheses are tested and confirmed in the cases of three capital cities in South and Southeast Europe. Regarding the changes in population density, it can be concluded that central/inner-city municipalities became less populated, with sometimes very significant decrease in population density, but without any land cover change, which indicates ‘depopulation’. At the same time, outer-city and peripheral municipalities also suffered a decline in population density, while their urban zones extended.


Bojović, B., Borovnica, N. (1998) Beograd i njegovo metropolsko područje, in Spasić, N. (eds.) Korišćenje resursa, održivi razvoj i uređenje prostora 3. Posebna izdanja 36, Beograd: IAUS, pp. 137-162.

European Environment Agency (EEA), (2013) Soil sealing degree ranging from 0 - 100% in aggregated spatial resolution (100 x 100 m), for the year 2006; Urban morphological zones (for the years of 1990, 2000 and 2006); UMZ changes from 1990–2000 and 2000–2006, Corine Land Cover – CLC raster data sets (for the years 1990, 2000 and 2006), and CLC changes for the period 1990–2000 and 2000–2006. http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-map, accessed on February 20th, 2013.

European Topic Centre on Terrestrial Environment (ETCTE), (2013) Urban Morphological Zones Definition, Methodological Approach and Results, http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/data/urban-morphological-zones-1990-umz90-f1v0/umz-methodology/umz-methodology, accessed on February 20th, 2013.

Gargiulo Morelli, V., Salvati, L. (2010) Ad Hoc Urban Sprawl in the Mediteranean City: Dispersing a Compact tradition? Rome: Edicioni Nuova Cultura.

Grčić, M. (1993) Razvoj industrije u suburbanoj zoni Beograda, Zbornik radova Geografskog fakulteta Univerziteta u Beogradu, Vol. 41, pp. 259-268.

Hirt, S. (2008) Landscapes of postmodernity: Changes in the Built Fabric of Belgrade and Sofia Since the End of Socialism, Urban Geography, Vol. 29, No. 8, pp.785-810.

Hirt, S., Kovachev, A. (2006) The Changing Spatial Structure of Post-Socialist Sofia, in Tsenkova, S., Nedović-Budić, Z. (eds), Urban Mosaic of Post-Socialist Europe – Space, Institutions and Policy. Heidelberg: Springer, pp. 113-130.

Krunić, N. (2013) Contribution to the Moland (Monitoring Land Cover/Use Dynamics) for the city of Rome and the city of Sofia, Preliminary Report, IAUS TURaS Team, Serbia.

Krunić, N., Bakić O., Đurđević, J. (2014) Population Dynamics (1990-2011) and Land Cover Change (1990-2006) for Three Cities: Belgrade, Rome and Sofia, Draft analytical paper, IAUS TURaS Team, Belgrade, Serbia.

Maksin-Mićić, M., Perišić, D. (2005) “Buvljak” u urbanizmu i prostornom planiranju, Izgradnja, Vol. 10, pp. 412-417.

Miletić, R. (2010) Economic Aspects of Spatial Development of Belgrade, in Krevs, M., Đorđević, D., Pichler-Milanović, N. (eds.), Challenges of Spatial Development of Ljubljana and Belgrade. Ljubljana: Filozofska fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani, pp. 181-198.

Montanari, A., Staniscia, B. (2012) Consequences of Economic Deconcentration in Italy and Rome: Unplanned Processes in a Highly Regulated Country, Urban Studies Research, Vol. 2012, Article ID 321815, 9 pages.

Petrić, J., (2013) Rezidencijalne preferencije ka gradskim i prigradskim područjima i povezanost sa njihovim demografskim karakteristikama, Arhitektura i urbanizam, No. 38, pp. 3-8.

Petrić, J., Krunić, N. (2013) An Approach for Researching Urban and Metropolitan Areas under the Conditions of Dynamic Changes, In Urban Eco Conference 2013, „Ecology of Urban Areas”, CD Proceedings, Zrenjanin: The Faculty of Technical Sciences ”Mihajlo Pupin”, The University of Novi Sad, pp. 486-495.

Petrović, M. (2001) Post-Socialist Housing Policy Transformation in Yugoslavia and Belgrade, European Journal of Housing Policy, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 211-231.

RIMED Report 13, (2005) Regional Integration and Metropolitan Development in Southeastern Europe Report 13: Comparative SWOT Analysis of the four metropolitan regions – Land use change and planning policies, The University of Thessaly.

Samardžić-Petrović M., Bajat B., Kovačević M. (2013) The Application of Different Kappa Statistics Indices in the Assessment of Similarity Between Planned and Actual Land Use Maps, in: Vujošević M., Milijić S. (eds.), Conference Proceedings: 2nd International Scientific Conference, RESPAG 2013, Belgrade: IAUS. pp. 605-617.

Simeunčević Radilović, S., Mitrović, B., Ralević, M., Đurović, M. (2013) Informal Growth of Housing in Belgrade under the Impact of Transition to Global Economy, Planum, The Journal of Urbanism, No. 26, Vol. 1, pp 1-13.

Slaev, A. (2012) Market Analysis of Urban Sprawl in Sofia, (work in progress, forthcoming), EC FP7 Project: Transitioning Towards Urban Resilience and Sustainability (TURAS), Work Package – Task 5.5.

Slaev, A., Nikiforov, I. (2013) Factors of Urban Sprawl in Bulgaria, SPATIUM International Review, No. 29, pp. 22-29.

Spalević, A. (2010) Transformacija naselja u periurbanom pojasu Beograda, Master rad, Geografski fakultet Univerziteta u Beogradu.

Vujović, S., Petrović, M. (2007) Belgrade’s Post-Socialist Urban Evolution, in Stanilov, K. (eds) The Post-Socialist City: Urban Form and Space Transformations in Central and Eastern Europe after Socialism. Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 361-384.

Živanović Miljković, J. (2008) Some Measures for Soil Regulation in Belgrade Peri-Urban Zone, SPATIUM International Review, No. 17- 18, pp. 68-71.

Original Scientific Paper - Second Part