Peter Christensen

Peter Christensen

Discrete and aggregate patterns of change are empirically distinct. Results suggest that further development of this analytical framework and its application could provide fruitful for the urban land change community.

2009 Urban Fellow

Research Topic: Urbanization and Land Use Change

Faculty Advisor: Karen Seto

The Form of Change: Inter-Annual Analysis of Urban Expansion using Landscape Metrics

The past few years have witnessed a proliferation of studies using spatial metrics to examine spatial structure of land cover change. Urban analysts are no exception, applying landscape metrics to study and model patterns of urban growth. While the majority of this research examines emerging urban structures by measuring changes in their aggregate forms, these spatial patterns are often dominated by stable regions at the urban core. This study proposes the direct measurement of discrete changes across the urban landscape, testing the technique through a comparative assessment of aggregate and discrete land cover changes across seven classified Landsat images from China’s Pearl River Delta. The study presents results on area and compactness metrics computed with Fragstats 3.3 software, which reveal distinct trends between two complimentary methods. Analysis of this data suggests a potential role for discrete pattern analysis as a compliment to aggregate change analysis, particularly suited to detecting and characterizing process dynamics involved in urban expansion.