Simulating urban growth and its impact on the potential crop production of a coastal area in Greece
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Peri-urban space and agricultural activities have proven to be critical in supplying urban population with healthy and proximate food. The special characteristics of peri-urban areas are a challenging parameter to consider when it comes to planning policies and strategies. As urban growth has historically proven to affect agricultural peri-urban areas it is important to assess its potential impacts and evaluate certain policies and plans. Scenario-based, urban growth simulation models are widely used to test policies and plans for exploring potential impacts of future changes. Cellular Automata (CA) models are popular amongst others in modelling urban growth and land use and landcover changes, due to their ability to mimic complex real-world phenomena and interactions in an inherently spatial manner with simplicity and controllability. Furthermore, they are commonly used with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) data This study uses the SLEUTH urban growth model (UGM) to simulate urban growth in the metropolitan region of Attica Greece under two scenarios of change towards 2050, to assess the total potential crop production loss of 12 selected crop classes. The scenarios implemented are based on policies mentioned in the Master Plans of Athens (former and newer version) for protecting and enhancing peri-urban space and agricultural areas. The business-as-usual BAU scenario represents current growth trends, while the agriculture-preservation APR scenario implements restrictive to urbanization measures on agricultural areas and a zoning system to preserve harvested area and production. Using SLEUTH’s outputs together with crop spatial data, both scenarios are assessed and examined.