How sprawl shapes public parks in an urban system: Spatial analysis of historical urban growth in orlando metropolitan region, Florida, USA

Luwei Wang, Timothy Murtha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Public parks are defined by historical changes in land use and land cover (LULC). Influences of broader urban processes, like sprawl, are visible consequences of these processes, sometimes including the dysfunction of amenities and facilities in parks, and the decrease of multi-functional open space on a regional scale. When planners and designers are preparing solutions for public parks in specific sites and areas, the lack of credible regional understanding has become a research gap that can be po-tentially bridged by applying the geodesign framework. Our goal is to comprehensively explore the historical development of urban systems and the impacts of this development on public parks in the Orlando Metropolitan Region, Florida, USA today. A prior study recorded some initial results based on the land use changes from 1970 to 2011 demonstrating how significant sprawl patterns emerged in this system. We now study how this influenced the form and distribution of public parks within the urban system. We standardized land-cover data between 2001 and 2016 and used public parks as an interpretive indicator through which to enhance the geospatial understanding of sprawl. Our findings include the following: We observed significant decreases in the natural area and found that the majority of non-urban lands have been converted to urban growth within our study boundary. Such results indi-cate the needs of urban growth have been centered on residential lands. In addition, we superimposed sprawl buffers and examined the ratio of urban land area to public parks per count and per unit area. We concluded that the inconsistent and unbalanced distribution of public parks is correlated with sprawl. Specifically, in the range of 6 to 12 miles, sprawl has greatly influenced park form and distri-bution. Finally, we discussed the implications of this study for future geodesign, landscape, and planning applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278-286
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Digital Landscape Architecture
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


Dive into the research topics of 'How sprawl shapes public parks in an urban system: Spatial analysis of historical urban growth in orlando metropolitan region, Florida, USA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this