Burak Güneralp, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Karen C. Seto, yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

Presentation Title: Four manifestations of urban land teleconnections




Evidence of Urban Land Teleconnections (ULT) is presented, drawing from four manifestations of urbanization. Along the lines of the ULT framework, the importance of process-based conceptualizations of the interaction of urban places with one other and rural places along a continuum of land systems is highlighted, followed by discussion of the knowledge gaps on how and where urbanization is driving land change and potential approaches to address these gaps.

Key Lessons Learned

Urban land teleconnections (ULT) is a conceptual framework to link urbanization dynamics to land changes.  Process-based conceptualizations of urbanization and land change highlight the diversity of ULT.  Novel methods such as spatially explicit life-cycle analysis can be used to identify ULT.  Conceptual frameworks on phenomena that transcend boundaries of specific locations can improve the knowledge base on ULT.

Policy/Practice Implications of Research

It is important to acknowledge other conceptual frameworks that approach the linkages among multiple places from different perspectives than that of the ULT. As an example, ‘trans-locality’, concerned with socio-spatial dynamics, such as processes of identity formation that transcend boundaries of specific locations, has parallels to the ULT. The opportunities for cross-fertilization between the two concepts deserve to be explored. Such cross-fertilization would prove the most useful for concurrently examining social and physical processes in migrations (rural–urban as well as lifestyle migration) or for more in-depth study of the formation of attitudes toward environmental protection and biodiversity conservation. However, it could also be employed to analyze the social and cultural dynamics underpinning the flow of commodities and raw materials that link multiple places.

Moving closer to sustainability requires achieving the right balance in studying the social, economic, and biophysical processes governing the interactions between urbanization and land change.

Knowledge Gaps and Needs

In order for the ULT framework to be fully implemented, more research is required to identify appropriate methodological approaches. Spatially explicit life-cycle assessment (LCA) and commodity chains analysis are two examples of analytical methods that can capture the linkages between processes by tracking the flows and accumulations of materials and information. There are several other methodological approaches such as material flow analysis (MFA) and consequential LCA that can be employed to study the ULT.