The consequences of demographic change in Rhineland-Palatinate: scenarios of landscape consumption for settlement and transportation areas
Land consumption for settlement has been a popular topic for discussion in spatial planning for several decades. But although there is no shortage of declarations and protestations that the reduction of land consumption plays a key role in sustainable development, no really effective countermeasures have been implemented. As a result, little progress can be made in attempts to reduce the rate of land consumption. And yet there are good reasons for giving serious consideration to control options once again. A number of European countries face a drastic change in terms of their demographic and economic structure. The debates over land consumption go along with this phenomenon of predicted dramatic falls in population. Can we prevent the growth of land consumption in view of a shrinking population? Data about changes in population, settlement, and transportation areas are shown for Rhineland-Palatinate region in Germany. Predicted trends for the next 50 years suggest increases in settlement areas despite reductions in the total population. This represents a future crisis in land available for agriculture and environmental values. Planning and policy instruments at the national level are suggested to complement existing measures to promote a sustainable future for German landscapes.
Keywords: Demographic change; population development; population shrinkage; landscape consumption; sustainable land use; Rhineland-Palatinate; settlement and transportation areas
KeywordsDemographic Change Settlement Area Real Estate Market Population Development Sustainable Land
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