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Environments 2017, 4(4), 72; doi:10.3390/environments4040072

Rapid Urban Growth in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: Monitoring Land Use Land Cover Dynamics of a Himalayan City with Landsat Imageries

1
School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
2
School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
3
School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 September 2017 / Revised: 3 October 2017 / Accepted: 7 October 2017 / Published: 8 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Territorial Management)
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Abstract

The Kathmandu Valley of Nepal epitomizes the growing urbanization trend spreading across the Himalayan foothills. This metropolitan valley has experienced a significant transformation of its landscapes in the last four decades resulting in substantial land use and land cover (LULC) change; however, no major systematic analysis of the urbanization trend and LULC has been conducted on this valley since 2000. When considering the importance of using LULC change as a window to study the broader changes in socio-ecological systems of this valley, our study first detected LULC change trajectories of this valley using four Landsat images of the year 1989, 1999, 2009, and 2016, and then analyzed the detected change in the light of a set of proximate causes and factors driving those changes. A pixel-based hybrid classification (unsupervised followed by supervised) approach was employed to classify these images into five LULC categories and analyze the LULC trajectories detected from them. Our results show that urban area expanded up to 412% in last three decades and the most of this expansion occurred with the conversions of 31% agricultural land. The majority of the urban expansion happened during 1989–2009, and it is still growing along the major roads in a concentric pattern, significantly altering the cityscape of the valley. The centrality feature of Kathmandu valley and the massive surge in rural-to-urban migration are identified as the primary proximate causes of the fast expansion of built-up areas and rapid conversions of agricultural areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: Urbanization; Kathmandu; Nepal; land use; land cover; sustainability; remote sensing Urbanization; Kathmandu; Nepal; land use; land cover; sustainability; remote sensing
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ishtiaque, A.; Shrestha, M.; Chhetri, N. Rapid Urban Growth in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: Monitoring Land Use Land Cover Dynamics of a Himalayan City with Landsat Imageries. Environments 2017, 4, 72.

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