The individual land managers who fuel land cover transitions from rural to urban are motivated by many factors. A comparison of three communities along an urban gradient in the peri-urban interface of Quito, Ecuador highlights some of those important variables and how they have influenced migration patterns and, consequently, patterns of land use and cover changes in each community.
2007 Urban Fellow
Research Topic: Urbanization and Land Use Change
Faculty Advisor: William BurchLisa Curran
Modeling Land Cover Change in Peri-urban Areas of Quito, Ecuador
The individual land managers who fuel transitions of land cover and use from rural to urban are motivated by many factors. A comparison of three communities along an urban gradient in the peri-urban interface of Quito, Ecuador highlights some of those important variables and how they have influenced migration patterns and, consequently, rates of land use and cover changes in each community. Household surveys were conducted in each of the three communities from June to August 2007, highlighting length of stay in the community, income and livelihoods, and land tenure including ownership and uses. Informal interviews with community leaders highlighted community demographics, land use and urbanization histories, and degree of participation in land use planning within the community and with other institutions at local, regional and national levels. Results emphasized the importance of internal rural to urban migration and settling patterns as determinants for peri-urban land use change and the rate of urbanization. The analysis argues that differences among rates of change are due not only to administrative management capabilities, but also to the diverse, household land use decisionmakers occupying peri-urban lands. The differences observed are attributed to the land use decisions they make according to their specific goals and available resources (economic and other). When relocating, households weigh biophysical attributes (e.g., altitude, climate and topography) and economic aspects (e.g., transportation corridors, markets for goods and employment, land prices and income) against personal values (e.g., tranquility, traditional livelihoods and access to urban amenities) and household capabilities (e.g., income potential, professional training) that allow them to take advantage of specific community characteristics. It is important that peri-urban growth management take into consideration these motivations in designing planning policies and programs. Specifically, a regional, rural-urban linkages approach that focuses on flows of goods, natural resources and people across the peri-urban interface could be helpful in slowing uncontrolled growth that has threatened the Quito’s natural resources.