This article analyzes land transition in the peripheral areas of Kyoto City during a period of fast economic growth in Japan. Disorganized urban growth during periods of urban transition consumed farmland and forestland, with a lasting impact on the city’s environment. The article reports changes in land use and land cover (LULC), population, roads and other transportation infrastructure and the factors behind these changes. The analysis is based on classification of a georeferenced mosaic of black-and-white aerial photos processed with the use of remote sensing technology to reconstruct the city’s LULC change for the years 1950 and 1960. This information is complemented by GIS data, and information derived from the consultation of primary and secondary historical sources. The results show that the urbanization patterns in periods of urban transition and economic growth which vary in different parts of the city determine LULC trajectories. Complex factors and mechanisms at the local level shape these dynamics. The article provides insights into the complex socioenvironmental processes that shape urban land systems and how their unforeseen consequences can impact the transition to sustainable cities.
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