Special Issue "A Pluralistic Approach to Defining and Measuring Urban Sprawl and Its Impacts on Human Well-Being"

A special issue of Remote Sensing (ISSN 2072-4292). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Remote Sensing".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Pedro Cabral
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nova Information School (NOVA IMS), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Campolide, 1070-312 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: ecosystem services; sustainability; land change modelling; remote sensing; multicriteria decision analysis
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urban sprawl plays an important role in sustainable urban development. It is associated to land conversion for human use which may severely compromise the integrity of ecological systems and the production of a wide range of ecosystem services. Remote Sensing (RS) combined with geographical information systems (GIS) tools can be used to acquire spatiotemporal series of data, enabling the quantification and analysis of changes in the landscape structure and function that result from natural or anthropogenic disturbances in urban areas. The impacts of urban sprawl on ecosystem services have been the subject of numerous Remote Sensing (RS) studies. Newly available image classification methods and satellite data call for the need of revisiting this topic regularly to produce up-to-date research and information that will help environmental managers performing their job more efficiently. This Special Issue aims to disseminate and share findings on the impacts of urban sprawl on human well-being using RS data. Original research papers or review manuscripts are invited in the following areas:                        

  • Detection and quantification of urban sprawl from RS;
  • Quantification of impacts of urban sprawl on human well-being based on RS;
  • Application of new RS image classification methods to the study of urban sprawl;
  • Monitoring of urban ecosystem services using RS methods.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pedro Cabral
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Remote Sensing is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Urban sprawl
  • Urban Ecosystem Services
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Land cover changes
  • Image classification
  • Human well-being

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Net Primary Productivity in China’s Urban Lands during 1982–2015
Remote Sens. 2021, 13(3), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs13030400 - 24 Jan 2021
Viewed by 553
Abstract
The rapid urbanization process has threatened the ecological environment. Net primary productivity (NPP) can effectively indicate vegetation growth status in an urban area. In this paper, we evaluated the change in NPP in China and China’s urban lands and assessed the impact of [...] Read more.
The rapid urbanization process has threatened the ecological environment. Net primary productivity (NPP) can effectively indicate vegetation growth status in an urban area. In this paper, we evaluated the change in NPP in China and China’s urban lands and assessed the impact of temperature, precipitation, the sunshine duration, and vegetation loss due to urban expansion on NPP in China’s three fast-growing urban agglomerations and their buffer zones (~5–20 km). The results indicated that the NPP in China exhibited an increasing trend. In contrast, the NPP in China’s urban lands showed a decreasing trend. However, after 1997, China’s increasing trend in NPP slowed (from 9.59 Tg C/yr to 8.71 Tg C/yr), while the decreasing trend in NPP in China’s urban lands weakened. Moreover, we found that the NPP in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei urban agglomeration (BTHUA), the Yangtze River Delta urban agglomeration (YRDUA), and the Pearl River Delta urban agglomeration (PRDUA) showed a decreasing trend. The NPP in the BTHUA showed an increasing trend in the buffer zones, which was positively affected by temperature and sunshine duration. Additionally, nonsignificant vegetation loss could promote the increase of NPP. In the YRDUA, the increasing temperature was the main factor that promoted the increase of NPP. The effect of temperature on NPP could almost offset the inhibition of vegetation reduction on the increase of NPP as the buffer zone expanded. In PRDUA, sunshine duration and vegetation loss were the main factors decreasing NPP. Our results will support future urban NPP prediction and government policymaking. Full article
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Article
Visual Quality Assessment of Urban Scenes with the Contemplative Landscape Model: Evidence from a Compact City Downtown Core
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(21), 3517; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12213517 - 27 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1097
Abstract
In the face of rapid urbanization and the growing burden of mental health disease, there is a need to design cities with consideration for human mental health and well-being. There is an emerging body of evidence on the importance of everyday environmental exposures [...] Read more.
In the face of rapid urbanization and the growing burden of mental health disease, there is a need to design cities with consideration for human mental health and well-being. There is an emerging body of evidence on the importance of everyday environmental exposures regarding the mental health of city inhabitants. For example, contemplative landscapes, through a series of neuroscience experiments, were shown to trigger improved mood and restoration of attention. While the Contemplative Landscape Model (CLM) for scoring landscape views was applied to single images, its suitability was never tested for walking paths and areas with a diversity of viewpoints. This study aims to fill this gap using the high-density downtown of Singapore, also known as a “City in a Garden” for its advanced urban greening strategies, as a case study. In this study, 68 360° photos were taken along four popular walking paths every 20 m. A photo set of 204 items was created by extracting three view angles from each photo. Each of them was independently scored by three experts and average CLM scores for each view and path were obtained. The results were then fed into an open-source Quantum Geographic Information System (QGIS) for visualization. Cohen’s kappa agreement between experts’ scores was computed. The outcomes were mapped to facilitate the identification of the most contemplative viewpoints and paths. Moreover, specific contemplative landscape patterns have been distinguished and assessed allowing the recommendation of design strategies to improve the quality of viewpoints and paths. The inter-rater agreement reached substantial to perfect values. CLM is a reliable and suitable tool that enables the fine-grained assessment and improvement of the visual quality of the urban living environments with consideration of the mental health and well-being of urbanites. It can be used at a larger scale owing to 360° photos taken from the pedestrian’s point of view. Utilizing spatially explicit maps in QGIS platforms enables a wider range of visualizations and allows for spatial patterns to be revealed that otherwise would have remained hidden. Our findings demonstrate the usefulness of our semi-automated method. Furthermore, given the high inter-rater agreement observed, we suggest that there is potential in developing fully automated methods. Full article
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Article
CORONA High-Resolution Satellite and Aerial Imagery for Change Detection Assessment of Natural Hazard Risk and Urban Growth in El Alto/La Paz in Bolivia, Santiago de Chile, Yungay in Peru, Qazvin in Iran, and Mount St. Helens in the USA
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(19), 3246; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12193246 - 06 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1170
Abstract
Urban growth and natural hazard events are continuous trends and reliable monitoring is demanded by organisations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, or the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. CORONA is the program [...] Read more.
Urban growth and natural hazard events are continuous trends and reliable monitoring is demanded by organisations such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, or the United Nations Human Settlements Programme. CORONA is the program name of photoreconnaissance satellite imagery available from 1960 to 1984 provides an extension of monitoring ranges in comparison to later satellite data such as Landsat that are more widely used. Providing visual comparisons with aerial or high-resolution OrbView satellite imagery, this article demonstrates applications of CORONA images for change detection of urban growth and sprawl and natural hazard exposure. Cases from El Alto/ La Paz in Bolivia, Santiago de Chile, Yungay in Peru, Qazvin in Iran, and Mount St. Helens in the USA are analysed. After a preassessment of over 20 disaster events, the 1970 Yungay earthquake-triggered debris avalanche and the natural hazard processes of the 1980 Mt St. Helens volcanic eruption are further analysed. Usability and limitations of CORONA data are analysed, including the availability of data depending on flight missions, cloud cover, spatial and temporal resolution, but also rather scarce documentation of natural hazards in the 1960s and 70s. Results include the identification of urban borders expanding into hazard-prone areas such as mountains, riverbeds or erosion channels. These are important areas for future research, making more usage of this valuable but little-used data source. The article addresses geographers, spatial planners, political decision makers and other scientific areas dealing with remote sensing. Full article
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Article
Coupling Coordination Relationship between Urban Sprawl and Urbanization Quality in the West Taiwan Strait Urban Agglomeration, China: Observation and Analysis from DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Imagery and Panel Data
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(19), 3217; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12193217 - 02 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 964
Abstract
Urban sprawl is the most prominent characteristic of urbanization, and increasingly affects local and regional sustainable development. The observation and analysis of urban sprawl dynamics and their relationship with urbanization quality are essential for framing integrative urban planning. In this study, the urban [...] Read more.
Urban sprawl is the most prominent characteristic of urbanization, and increasingly affects local and regional sustainable development. The observation and analysis of urban sprawl dynamics and their relationship with urbanization quality are essential for framing integrative urban planning. In this study, the urban areas of the West Taiwan Strait Urban Agglomeration (WTSUA) were extracted using nighttime light imagery from 1992 to 2013. The spatio-temporal characteristics and pattern of urban sprawl were quantitatively analyzed by combining an urban expansion rate index and a standard deviation ellipse model. The urbanization quality was assessed using an entropy weight model, and its relationship with urban sprawl was calculated by a coupling coordination degree model. The results showed that the urban area in the WTSUA experienced a significant increase, i.e., 18,806.73 km2, during the period 1992–2013. The central cities grew by 11.08% and noncentral cities by 27.43%, with a general uneven city rank-size distribution. The urban sprawl showed a circular expansion pattern, accompanied by a gradual centroid migration of urban areas from the southeast coast to the central-western regions. The coupling coordination level between urban expansion and urbanization quality increased from serious incoordination in 1992 to basic coordination in 2013. Dual driving forces involving state-led policies and market-oriented land reform had a positive influence on the harmonious development of urban sprawl and urbanization quality of the WTSUA. This research offers an effective approach to monitor changes in urban sprawl and explore the coupling coordination relationship between urban sprawl and urbanization quality. The study provides important scientific references for the formulation of future policies and planning for sustainable development in urban agglomerations. Full article
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Article
Ecological Risk Assessment Based on Land Cover Changes: A Case of Zanzibar (Tanzania)
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(19), 3114; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12193114 - 23 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1132
Abstract
Land use and land cover (LULC) under improper land management is a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa and has drastically affected ecological security. Addressing environmental impacts related to this challenge requires efficient planning strategies based on the measured information of land use patterns. [...] Read more.
Land use and land cover (LULC) under improper land management is a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa and has drastically affected ecological security. Addressing environmental impacts related to this challenge requires efficient planning strategies based on the measured information of land use patterns. This study assessed the ecological risk index (ERI) of Zanzibar based on LULC. A random forest classifier was used to classify three Landsat images of Zanzibar for the years 2003, 2009, and 2018. Then, a land change model was employed to simulate the LULC changes for 2027 under a business-as-usual (BAU), conservation, and extreme scenarios. Results showed that the built-up areas and farmland of Zanzibar Island have increased constantly, while the natural grassland and forest cover have decreased. The forest, agricultural, and grassland were highly fragmented into several small patches. The ERI of Zanzibar Island increased at a constant rate and, if the current trend continues, this index will increase by up to 8.9% in 2027 under an extreme scenario. If a conservation scenario is adopted, the ERI will increase by 4.6% whereas if a BAU policy is followed, this value will increase by 6.2%. This study provides authorities with useful information to understand better the ecological processes and LULC dynamics and prevent unmanaged growth and haphazard development of informal housing and infrastructure. Full article
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Article
Multitemporal Analysis of Soil Sealing and Land Use Changes Linked to Urban Expansion of Salamanca (Spain) Using Landsat Images and Soil Carbon Management as a Mitigating Tool for Climate Change
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(7), 1131; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12071131 - 02 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1061
Abstract
The lack of urban sustainability is a widespread deficiency in urban agglomerations. To achieve adequate land use, we present a methodology that allows for: 1) the identification of the impacts caused by urban expansion since 1956 to the present in Salamanca (Spain); and [...] Read more.
The lack of urban sustainability is a widespread deficiency in urban agglomerations. To achieve adequate land use, we present a methodology that allows for: 1) the identification of the impacts caused by urban expansion since 1956 to the present in Salamanca (Spain); and 2) the promotion of a more sustainable future in urban development. A multi-temporal assessment of land use was made by remote sensing, while sustainability criteria were analyzed using the multicriteria analysis (MCA) with Geographical Information Systems (GIS). In addition, we established recommendations for soil carbon management in semi-arid ecosystem soils that contribute to climate change mitigation. The results show an increase of the urbanized area from 3.8% to 22.3% in the studied period, identifying up to 15% of buildings in zones with some type of restriction. In 71% of the cases, urbanization caused the sealing of productive agricultural soils (2519 Ha), almost 20% of which were of the highest quality. In last few decades, an excessive increase of built-up areas in comparison to population dynamics was identified, which causes unnecessary soil sealing that affects the food production and the capacity to mitigate climate change by managing the carbon cycle in the soil. Full article
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