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Monitoring Urban Growth and the Nepal Earthquake 2015 for Sustainability of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

The State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
State Key Laboratory of Resource and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
Cultural and Spatial Ecology, Department of Geosciences, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andrew Millington, Harini Nagendra, Monika Kopecka and Karen C. Seto
Received: 24 April 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 17 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective)
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The exodus of people from rural areas to cities brings many detrimental environmental, social and cultural consequences. Monitoring spatiotemporal change by referencing the historical timeline or incidence has become an important way to analyze urbanization. This study has attempted to attain the cross-sectional analysis of Kathmandu valley that has been plagued by rampant urbanization over the last three decades. The research utilizes Landsat images of Kathmandu valley from 1976 to 2015 for the transition analysis of land use, land cover and urban sprawl for the last four decades. Results showed that the urban coverage of Kathmandu valley has tremendously increased from 20.19 km2 in 1976 to 39.47 km2 in 1989 to 78.96 km2 in 2002 to 139.57 km2 in 2015, at the cost of cultivated lands, with an average annual urban growth rate of 7.34%, 7.70% and 5.90% in each temporal interval, respectively. In addition, the urban expansion orientation analysis concludes the significant urban concentration in the eastern part, moderately medium in the southwest and relatively less in the western and northwest part of the valley. Urbanization was solely accountable for the exploitation of extant forests, fertile and arable lands and indigenous and cultural landscapes. Unattended fallow lands in suburban areas have compounded the problem by welcoming invasive alien species. Overlaying the highly affected geological formations within the major city centers displays that unless the trend of rapid, unplanned urbanization is discontinued, the future of Kathmandu is at the high risk. Since land use management is a fundamental part of development, we advocate for the appropriate land use planning and policies for sustainable and secure future development. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use/land cover change; urban expansion; geology; earthquake; GIS/RS; Kathmandu valley land use/land cover change; urban expansion; geology; earthquake; GIS/RS; Kathmandu valley

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Rimal, B.; Zhang, L.; Fu, D.; Kunwar, R.; Zhai, Y. Monitoring Urban Growth and the Nepal Earthquake 2015 for Sustainability of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Land 2017, 6, 42.

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