Characterizing Urban Sprawl using Remote Sensing and a Simple Spatial Metric for a Medium-Sized City in Japan

  • Akiko Noda Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, 2-1-1, Sengen, Tsukuba-city, Ibaraki 305-8505 Japan
  • Yasushi Yamaguchi Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, 464-8601 Japan


This study proposes a method to analyze urban sprawl of a medium-sized city using a combination of remote-sensing images and a spatial metric. The features of urban sprawl investigated in this study are greenery segmentation and isolated urban form, as measured using a spatial metric that quantifies and qualifies the configuration of the urban landscape. As a case study, urban growth in Toyohashi City, Japan is examined from 1972 to 2002. The results demonstrate that the proposed method provides an independent measure that captures the nature of the urban landscape and the manner of urban growth. The resulting information is presented visually in the form of urban-growth maps that promote intuitive understanding and enable the evaluation of the conventional urban management measure. This approach is useful for urban planning by local officials and communities within urban settlements throughout the world, as many urban settlements face common problems related to the management of urban growth.