High-spatiotemporal-resolution mapping of global urban change from 1985 to 2015
High-resolution global maps of annual urban land coverage provide fundamental information of global environmental change and contribute to applications related to climate mitigation and urban planning for sustainable development. Here we map global annual urban dynamics from 1985 to 2015 at a 30 m resolution using numerous surface reflectance data from Landsat satellites. We find that global urban extent has expanded by 9,687 km2 per year. This rate is four times greater than previous reputable estimates from worldwide individual cities, suggesting an unprecedented rate of global urbanization. The rate of urban expansion is notably faster than that of population growth, indicating that the urban land area already exceeds what is needed to sustain population growth. Looking ahead, using these maps in conjunction with integrated assessment models can facilitate greater understanding of the complex environmental impacts of urbanization and help urban planners avoid natural hazards; for example, by limiting new development in flood risk zones.
Liu, Xiaoping; Huang, Yinghuai; Xu, Xiaocong; Li, Xuecao; Li, Xia; Ciais, Philippe; Lin, Peirong; Gong, Kai; Ziegler, Alan D.; Chen, Anping; Gong, Peng; Chen, Jun; Hu, Guohua; Chen, Yimin; Wang, Shaojian; Wu, Qiusheng; Huang, Kangning; Estes, Lyndon; and Zeng, Zhenzhong, "High-spatiotemporal-resolution mapping of global urban change from 1985 to 2015" (2020). Geography. 55.