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Environmental deterioration in rapid urbanisation: evidence from assessment of ecosystem service values in Wujiang, Suzhou

Yu, Li ORCID:, Lyu, Yinchao, Chen, Chun and Choguill, Charles L. 2021. Environmental deterioration in rapid urbanisation: evidence from assessment of ecosystem service values in Wujiang, Suzhou. Environment, Development and Sustainability 23 , pp. 331-349. 10.1007/s10668-019-00582-3

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Land use change is the most prominent feature of Chinese urbanisation. In China, the expansion of land consumed for urban development is inevitable given the rapid increases in the urban economy and urban population, but also in meeting the population’s increasing demand for better quality of life. This paper is based on a research study of Wujiang district in Suzhou, which is considered representative of many of the rapid urbanisation areas within the nation. The objective is to develop an in-depth understanding of the characteristics of land use change and how this change contributes to environmental deterioration, as assessed by changes in the ecosystem service value (ESV). In this study, ESV is defined as the environmental products and functions provided for human well-being. Based on local planning documents, Landsat TM remote-sensing images and field surveys, the research analyses the cost to the environment when traditional land uses are transformed into urbanisation. The research demonstrates that conversion to urban land use which ignores the limit and capacity of the environment can generate significant environmental costs, as assessed by ESV, which in turn, can lead to a deterioration of quality of life for inhabitants, the exact opposite of the original intention. The research demonstrates that by mapping the spatial distribution of ecological service values, ESV can be used as a guide to urban sustainable development.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 1387-585X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 January 2020
Date of Acceptance: 30 December 2019
Last Modified: 07 May 2023 12:09

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