Urban encroachment due to urban sprawl and unchecked expansion in built-up areas is one of the top challenges developing countries such as Pakistan face. The fertile agricultural land is continuously converting into built-up areas reducing the capacity of food production and bringing down the livelihood opportunities associated with agricultural land. Pakistan is an agricultural country with extensive fertile areas. The GDP share of agriculture is more than 20%, and it engages more than half of the country’s total labor force, producing a handsome foreign exchange. However, this fertile and productive land is now altering due to urbanization encroachment. The primary purpose of this study was to assess the level of urbanization encroachment and its temporal dynamics in the lowlands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The sample area of District Peshawar was selected for this purpose. First, the study’s objective was to detect the district’s temporal dynamics in the land-use pattern. Secondly, the quantification of agricultural land converted to built-up in District Peshawar was also considered. The study of urbanization encroachment in temporal dynamics focused on the conversion of agricultural land-use change using high-resolution satellite images (Arc GIS 10.5), a detailed questionnaire survey, and interviews, and focus group discussions were conducted to obtain more profound insight into the study area. SPSS (Statistical Package for Social Sciences), ANOVA, and regression models were applied where needed. For the agricultural land investigation, data from the landowners were also incorporated to learn the size of the lands they currently hold. To claw out the fragmentation of the land, the previous status of the land, its selling, purchasing, and the causes thereof, have also been probed. The results show that 46.35 sq. km of the land area has been built-up since the first census in 1981. In 2019, it increased by 173.3049 sq. km in District Peshawar against the total area of 1257 sq. km. In the sample area, the fertile agricultural land shows a change five times greater than the population increase. The land is continuously reduced and utilized for different purposes. The land values also appeal to the land owners for handsome returns, which is another crucial factor of urban encroachment over the fertile agricultural area. A proper and active regularity authority is recommended, and policies for land transformation from agriculture to built-up coverings should be formed. Decentralization of facilities, subsidies, and incentives to the farmers are recommended to slow down the speed of land conversion.
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