Analyzing Land Use Change in Urban Environments

Fact Sheet 188-99



Metropolitan areas in the United States are growing at unprecedented rates, creating extensive urban landscapes. Many of the farmlands, wetlands, forests, and deserts that formed the America of 1900 have been transformed during the past 100 years into human settlements. Almost everyone has seen these changes to their local environment but without a clear understanding of their impacts. It is not until we study these landscapes from a spatial perspective and the time scale of decades that we can begin to measure the changes that have occurred and predict the impact of changes to come.

The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) Urban Dynamics Research (UDR) program studies the landscape transformations that result from the growth of metropolitan regions over time. Using sources such as historic maps, aerial photographs, and Landsat satellite data, USGS scientists first assemble retrospective urban land use databases that reflect several decades of change. These databases are then used to analyze the effects of urbanization on the landscape, and to model urban growth and land use change under alternative growth scenarios.

Suggested Citation

U.S. Geological Survey, 1999, Analysis of land use change in urban environments: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 188–99, 4 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Land Use Change
  • Mapping Land Use Change
  • Understanding Land Use Change
  • Land Use Change Modeling
  • Impacts of Land Use Change
  • Products
  • Study Sites
  • Collaboration
  • Information

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Analysis of land use change in urban environments
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 188-99
DOI 10.3133/fs18899
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 4 p.
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