The article presents the urban sprawl phenomena in Central European capitals and in the Budapest metropolitan region, based on statistical data and empirical survey analysis. The study concentrates on territorial consumption issues, which are determined by the suburbanisation processes, the changes of city and outskirt populations, and the transformation of land use patterns. It describes the negative environmental and social impacts (air pollution, spatial and social stratification phenomena and conflicts) as well. Moreover the paper summarizes the residential requirements to offer a hypothesis concerning the possible urban sprawl in the future. Finally it discusses the excessive criticism of the urban sprawl phenomena.