For many centuries we lived in cities with a compact, densely constructed morphology around historic urban centres, particularly in European countries with a high level of development, in which residences, work places and services were close and the identity of populations was based on belonging to the local communities of family relations or neighbourhood. The situation changed with the birth of the so-called diffused (or limitless) city, in which the peri-urban became the privileged location area for settlements and radically changed the space-time morphology of mobility and accessibility to urban assets and services. The spreading of settlements has brought with it the increased demand for mobility and caused the crisis in the traditional system of public transport supply which, organised on the premise of the compact city, has a mainly radical structure, lacking in extra- urban transport networks and centres for modal interchange. The paper analyses the issue of urban sprawl and its impact on daily mobility, paying particular attention to the outcomes of the latest empirical studies carried out in Italian urban and metropolitan areas.
Keywords: Urban settlements, urban sprawl, metropolitan areas, services, zoning, land consumption, car