1 Introduction

This review paper derives from work undertaken as part of the EU Fifth Framework Integrated Project PLUREL – Peri-Urban Land Use Change. It is based on a review of the theory and processes of migration, drawing on a wide range of literature, and uses secondary qualitative analysis of data to develop projections of land use change and condition resolved to a spatial scale known as NUTSx1. It reviews the nature of the phenomenon of migration in Europe to understand how different types and patterns of migration within and between European countries as well as from outside Europe have affected and are likely to continue to affect land use change. Change in land use may vary from increasing urban densification, urbanisation and urban sprawl to rural abandonment and extensification. This variation in land use change is related to migration flows, which work in several directions, at different territorial scales and involve different socio-economic groups – not being entirely associated with poor or unskilled people, although these may form an overall majority. Even if we expect the intensity of land use changes to vary from country to country and region to region, due to data limitations it is very difficult to do so. Accordingly, the present analysis will focus on a single European territorial level – NUTSx (a hybrid territorial unit between NUTS 2 and 3 used for several EU projects including SENSOR and PLUREL), even though most of the data on migration is defined at NUTS 2. We also give examples of the variation within a single NUTS region to illustrate arguments and present examples of specific “hotspots” of in- or out-migration processes.

Two main gaps in the migration literature are, firstly, a lack of a clear link showing how data on migration is related to land use change, and secondly, the use of demographic trends, for example, based on levels of fertility and mortality rates, to give a prognosis of migration into the future. We try to address these gaps by making inferences and postulating hypotheses on the effect of migration on the landscape – based on data from land cover maps and field observation in affected areas and by considering important driving forces and factors, the way they affect migration change, and their subsequent contribution to land use change.

It is useful to relate studies of land use change to the so-called “DPSIR” framework (drivers, pressures, states, impact and response) (EEA) so that demographic, environmental, economic or technological drivers can be understood as setting the conditions leading to migration which then places pressures on the land (or a release of pressure) leading to a change of state (eg increased urbanisation, sprawl, land abandonment). This new state produces impacts on environmental services (such as reduction in green areas) or quality of life (such as increasing crime or commuting time) and which call for responses by national and local government (such as restricting certain types of migration or by reducing the impact).

The main objective of this paper is thus to review, identify and quantify (as far as possible with the data available) the range and type of migration pressures and to define these for the future in terms of anticipated land use changes at the NUTSx level. Data limitations demand that projected land use changes are mostly descriptive at this point owing to the quality of the data.

  Go to previous page Scroll to top Go to next page