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The End of Urban Sprawl? A Swiss Assessment from 1966 to 2018

Mathias Lerch, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)

In high-income countries in the second half of the 20th Century, internal migration redistributed population from congested city centers into the sparsely populated outskirts, raising challenges to environmental health and the conservation of biodiversity. Focusing on Switzerland, we evaluate whether this process of periurbanisation came to a halt. We expect decline in internal migration and changing geographic patterns, with a renewed attractiveness of central city areas (i.e. re-urbanisation). Relying on data from censuses, registers and surveys, we analyse migration across consistently defined rural areas and urban density zones in 79 agglomerations between 1966 and 2018. In addition to the description of trends and the geography of migration rates, we investigate sociodemographic differentials in net and directional flows by density zone, using time series model with agglomeration fixed effects. This provides insights into the diffusion of, and the motives for, different mobility patterns. Preliminary results show that, although the intensity of migration declined in the total population, the rate increased among the 25-64 years old in part because of the societal diffusion of tertiary education. The re-urbanisation process, observed in some agglomerations around 2000, appears to be a passing phase. The bolder process of periurbanisation extended recently beyond current agglomeration borders.

Keywords: Internal migration, Urbanization and urban populations, Spatial analysis/regression

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session 38. New Methods and Measures in Urbanization