Urban sprawl is associated with a number of ecological, economic and social effects. Some of these relate to people's desires, for example, to live in single-family homes with gardens. However, urban sprawl has detrimental and long-lasting effects. For example, urban sprawl contributes significantly to the loss of fertile farmland, to soil sealing and to the loss of ecological soil functions. The increase in built‑up areas reduces the size of wildlife habitats and increases landscape fragmentation and the spread of invasive species. Urban sprawl leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions, higher... infrastructure costs for transport, water and electrical power, the loss of open landscapes, and the degradation of various ecosystem services. Despite various efforts to address this problem, urban sprawl has increased rapidly in Europe in recent decades. Thus, urban sprawl presents a major challenge with regard to sustainable land use, as the International Year of Soils 2015 highlighted. Sprawl is a result not only of population growth but also of lifestyles that take up more space. Accordingly, urban sprawl has increased even in regions with a declining human population. Many more urban development and transport infrastructure projects are planned for the future, in particular in the European Union (EU) Member States which joined after 2004. Consequently, further increases in urban sprawl in the future will be significant. Therefore, consistent data on the degree of urban sprawl are needed, particularly data that are suitable for the comparison of regions across Europe. This report investigates the degree of urban sprawl in 32 countries in Europe by considering two points in time (2006 and 2009) at three levels.