The assessment of change in rural landscape and the analysis of the driving forces. Proposal of a spatial model for the rural built environment

Minarelli, Francesca (2009) The assessment of change in rural landscape and the analysis of the driving forces. Proposal of a spatial model for the rural built environment , [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Ingegneria agraria, 21 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/1510.
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The presented study carried out an analysis on rural landscape changes. In particular the study focuses on the understanding of driving forces acting on the rural built environment using a statistical spatial model implemented through GIS techniques. It is well known that the study of landscape changes is essential for a conscious decision making in land planning. From a bibliography review results a general lack of studies dealing with the modeling of rural built environment and hence a theoretical modelling approach for such purpose is needed. The advancement in technology and modernity in building construction and agriculture have gradually changed the rural built environment. In addition, the phenomenon of urbanization of a determined the construction of new volumes that occurred beside abandoned or derelict rural buildings. Consequently there are two types of transformation dynamics affecting mainly the rural built environment that can be observed: the conversion of rural buildings and the increasing of building numbers. It is the specific aim of the presented study to propose a methodology for the development of a spatial model that allows the identification of driving forces that acted on the behaviours of the building allocation. In fact one of the most concerning dynamic nowadays is related to an irrational expansion of buildings sprawl across landscape. The proposed methodology is composed by some conceptual steps that cover different aspects related to the development of a spatial model: the selection of a response variable that better describe the phenomenon under study, the identification of possible driving forces, the sampling methodology concerning the collection of data, the most suitable algorithm to be adopted in relation to statistical theory and method used, the calibration process and evaluation of the model. A different combination of factors in various parts of the territory generated favourable or less favourable conditions for the building allocation and the existence of buildings represents the evidence of such optimum. Conversely the absence of buildings expresses a combination of agents which is not suitable for building allocation. Presence or absence of buildings can be adopted as indicators of such driving conditions, since they represent the expression of the action of driving forces in the land suitability sorting process. The existence of correlation between site selection and hypothetical driving forces, evaluated by means of modeling techniques, provides an evidence of which driving forces are involved in the allocation dynamic and an insight on their level of influence into the process. GIS software by means of spatial analysis tools allows to associate the concept of presence and absence with point futures generating a point process. Presence or absence of buildings at some site locations represent the expression of these driving factors interaction. In case of presences, points represent locations of real existing buildings, conversely absences represent locations were buildings are not existent and so they are generated by a stochastic mechanism. Possible driving forces are selected and the existence of a causal relationship with building allocations is assessed through a spatial model. The adoption of empirical statistical models provides a mechanism for the explanatory variable analysis and for the identification of key driving variables behind the site selection process for new building allocation. The model developed by following the methodology is applied to a case study to test the validity of the methodology. In particular the study area for the testing of the methodology is represented by the New District of Imola characterized by a prevailing agricultural production vocation and were transformation dynamic intensively occurred. The development of the model involved the identification of predictive variables (related to geomorphologic, socio-economic, structural and infrastructural systems of landscape) capable of representing the driving forces responsible for landscape changes.. The calibration of the model is carried out referring to spatial data regarding the periurban and rural area of the study area within the 1975-2005 time period by means of Generalised linear model. The resulting output from the model fit is continuous grid surface where cells assume values ranged from 0 to 1 of probability of building occurrences along the rural and periurban area of the study area. Hence the response variable assesses the changes in the rural built environment occurred in such time interval and is correlated to the selected explanatory variables by means of a generalized linear model using logistic regression. Comparing the probability map obtained from the model to the actual rural building distribution in 2005, the interpretation capability of the model can be evaluated. The proposed model can be also applied to the interpretation of trends which occurred in other study areas, and also referring to different time intervals, depending on the availability of data. The use of suitable data in terms of time, information, and spatial resolution and the costs related to data acquisition, pre-processing, and survey are among the most critical aspects of model implementation. Future in-depth studies can focus on using the proposed model to predict short/medium-range future scenarios for the rural built environment distribution in the study area. In order to predict future scenarios it is necessary to assume that the driving forces do not change and that their levels of influence within the model are not far from those assessed for the time interval used for the calibration.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Minarelli, Francesca
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze agrarie
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Data di discussione
8 Giugno 2009

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