Inderscience Publishers

Crossroads of tourism: a complex spatial systems analysis of tourism and urban sprawl in the Algarve

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Urban development combined with city expansion, has brought irreversible consequences for land use and environmental degradation. The balance between stability in urban areas and biodiversity, relates in essence to sustainability and economic development. This economic development in southern Europe is especially affected by service industries such as tourism. Preventing future damage is particularly necessary in coastal zones, where contributing factors of a human or natural nature require important strategies to be designed for regional and urban planning. The application of the spatial realities of land use within temporal dynamics allows the ex-ante assessment of spatial planning policies. The combination of economic, social, and natural consequences questions the application of complex system theory within spatio-temporal dynamics supporting regional decision making. In this context, geographic information systems, combined with spatial data inventories, are used for a systemic analysis of the dynamics of urban change within land-use dynamics and complex systems.

Keywords: sustainable tourism, urban growth, spatial dynamics, GIS, Portugal, urban sprawl, Algarve, geographic information systems, urban development, spatial planning, land use, sustainability, sustainable development

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