Sustainability of agriculture is challenged by increasing sprawl in urban agglomerations. Under increasing agglomeration economies in large and even medium sized cities, more and more soil is being subtracted to agriculture, depriving agricultural activities of the main production factor. The extent to which the expanding urbanization threatens agricultural development depends on the urban spatial structure, however. In this work it is empirically investigated how the relationship between soil use and soil consumption is shaped by the compactness of a city. For the population of LAU1 (province) main cities in an Italian region (Lombardy), compactness is measured as the density gradient and estimated using Central Business District models. It is found that more compact cities exhibit relatively lower-than-expected soil consumption in the period 1999-2007. Results suggest that agglomeration economies are not enemies of agricultural activities per se. Nonetheless, urbanization needs to be accompanied by urban fringe containment.
- Central Business District models