Analysis of urban distribution and its expansion using remote sensing data has received increasing attention in the past three decades, but little research has examined spatial patterns of urban distribution and expansion with buffer zones in different directions. This research selected Hangzhou metropolis as a case study to analyze spatial patterns and dynamic changes based on time-series urban impervious surface area (ISA) datasets. ISA was developed from Landsat imagery between 1991 and 2014 using a hybrid approach consisting of linear spectral mixture analysis, decision tree classifiers, and post-processing. The spatial patterns of ISA distribution and its dynamic changes in eight directions—east, southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest, north, and northeast—at the temporal scale were analyzed with a buffer zone-based approach. This research indicated that ISA can be extracted from Landsat imagery with both producer and user accuracies of over 90%. ISA in Hangzhou metropolis increased from 146 km2
in 1991 to 868 km2
in 2014. Annual ISA growth rates were between 15.6 km2
and 48.8 km2
with the lowest growth rate in 1994–2000 and the highest growth rate in 2005–2010. Urban ISA increase before 2000 was mainly due to infilling within the urban landscape, and, after 2005, due to urban expansion in the urban-rural interfaces. Urban expansion in this study area has different characteristics in various directions that are influenced by topographic factors and urban development policies.
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