ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT, cilt.186, ss.6301-6318, 2014 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi)
Although ecological connectivity conservation in urban areas has recently been recognized as an important issue, less is known about its relationship to urban form and landscape pattern. This study investigates how urban morphology influences regional ecosystem pattern and landscape connectivity. Two metropolitan landscapes, Phoenix, AZ, USA, and Izmir, Turkey, were compared, both of which are fast-growing regions in their national context. A wide range of variables were considered for identifying natural and urban properties. The natural characteristics include typology of urban ecosystems, urban to natural cover ratio, dominant habitat type, urban biodiversity, landscape context, and connectivity conservation efforts. Urban parameters examine urban form, urban extent, urban cover proportion, growth rate, populations, urban gradient, major drivers of urbanization, urban density, and mode/approach of urban development. Twelve landscape metrics were measured and compared across the natural patches. Results show that there is little difference in landscape connectivity in the rural zones of Phoenix and Izmir, although Phoenix has slightly higher connectivity values. The connectivity variance in urbanized areas, however, is significantly dependent on the region. For example, Phoenix urban zones have substantially lower connectivity than either urban or suburban zones in Izmir. Findings demonstrate that small and compact urban settlements with more dense populations are more likely to conserve landscape connectivity compared to multiple-concentric but amalgamated urban form spreading all over the landscape (aka urban sprawl).