Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 171, Issue 1–4, pp 457–470 | Cite as

Detecting the spatial differentiation in settlement change rates during rapid urbanization in the Nanjing metropolitan region, China

  • Chi Xu
  • Maosong Liu
  • Xuejiao Yang
  • Sheng Sheng
  • Mingjuan Zhang
  • Zheng Huang


Urbanization produced significant landscape changes throughout the world. China has been experiencing accelerated urbanization during the past decades. Rapid land use/land over conversion occurred nationwide in urbanization, manifesting noteworthy characteristics of landscape dynamics. In this study, we investigated the spatial differentiation in settlement change rates among 1-km2 land units in the Nanjing metropolitan region, a representative rapidly urbanizing region in China. Remotely sensed detection using Landsat TM data of 1988–2006 showed that settlement increase, termed as positive growth (PG), was predominant in the study area; while settlement decrease, termed as negative growth (NG), also had a considerable proportion, which was mainly attributed to the increase of green lands and the shrink of rural settlements. Along the urban-rural gradient, PG and NG showed similar mono-peaked patterns. The urban fringe zone with a consistent width of about 4 km was identified as the hot zone of both PG and NG over the three unequal periods. For both PG and NG, high-rated changes tended to exhibit more aggregative patterns along the gradient in the urban fringe zone. Settlement changes showed apparent anisotropy across directions. The directional distribution of PG was significantly negatively correlated to the topographic variables, suggesting that the mountains constrained urban expansion in an “area-weighted inverse-distance power” form. Significant correlation between PG and NG in a time-lagged manner showed the “increase–decrease” fluctuation occurred in settlement changes, reflecting the “urban expansion–land reconfiguration” process in rapid urbanization in Nanjing.


Anisotropy Sector approach Urban–rural gradient Urban fringe zone 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alberti, M. (2005). The effects of urban patterns on ecosystem function. International Regional Science Review, 28(2), 168–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alberti, M. (2008). Advances in urban ecology: Integrating humans and ecological processes in urban ecosystems. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  3. Antrop, M. (2000). Changing patterns in the urbanized countryside of Western Europe. Landscape Ecology, 15(3), 257–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Batty, M. (2008). The size, scale, and shape of cities. Science, 319(5864), 769–771.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berling-Wolff, S., & Wu, J. (2004). Modeling urban landscape dynamics: A case study in Phoenix, USA. Urban Ecosystem, 7(3), 215–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bontje, M. (2005). Facing the challenge of shrinking cities in East Germany: The case of Leipzig. GeoJournal, 61(1), 13–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Burgess, E. W. (1925). The growth of the city: An introduction to a research project. In R. E. Park, E. W. Burgess, & R. D. McKenzie (Eds.), The city (pp. 47–62). Chicago: The Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Bürgi, M., Hersperger, A. M., & Schneeberger, N. (2004). Driving forces of landscape change-current and new directions. Landscape Ecology, 19(8), 857–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carlson, T. N., & Arthur, S. T. (2000). The impact of land use-land cover changes due to urbanization on surface microclimate and hydrology: A satellite perspective. Global Planetary Change, 25(1), 49–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chen, H., Liu, M., Xu, M., Huang, G., & Chen, F. (2007). Behavioral characteristics of settlement patches in urbanization of Nanjing. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 27(1), 56–62.Google Scholar
  11. Clark, G. L. (1981). Factors influencing the space-time lags of regional economic adjustment. The Annals of Regional Science, 15(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Clarke, K. C., & Gaydos, L. J. (1998). Loose-coupling of a cellular automaton model and GIS: Long-term growth prediction for the San Francisco and Washington/Baltimore. International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 12(7), 699–714.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dewan, A. M., & Yamaguchi, Y. (2009). Using remote sensing and GIS to detect and monitor land use and land cover change in Dhaka Metropolitan of Bangladesh during 1960–2005. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 150(1), 237–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dietzel, C., Herold, M., Hemphill, J. J., & Clarke, K. C. (2005). Spatiotemporal dynamics in California’s Central Valley: Empirical links to urban theory. Journal of Geographical Information Science, 19(2), 175–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dong, Y., Liu, M., Xu, C., Zhang, C., & Liu, Z. (2006). Forest distribution pattern and land use strategy along urban-rural gradient. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 17(8), 1408–1412.Google Scholar
  16. Grimm, N. B., Grove, J. M., Pickett, S. T. A., & Redman, C. L. (2000). Integrated approaches to long-term studies of urban ecological systems. Bioscience, 50(7), 571–584.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harris, C., & Ullman, E. (1945). The nature of cities. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 242, 7–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Herold, M., Goldstein, N. C., & Clarke, K. C. (2003). The spatiotemporal form of urban growth: Measurement, analysis and modeling. Remote Sensing of Environment, 86(3), 286–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoyt, H. (1939). The structure and growth of residential neighborhoods in American cities. Washington, DC: Federal Housing Administration.Google Scholar
  20. Karaburun, A., Demirci, A., & Suen, I. (2009). Impacts of urban growth on forest cover in Istanbul (1987–2007). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. doi: 10.1007/s10661-009-1000-z.Google Scholar
  21. Kesgin, B., & Nurlu, E. (2009). Land cover changes on the coastal zone of Candarli Bay, Turkey using remotely sensed data. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. doi: 10.1007/s10661-008-0517-x.Google Scholar
  22. Kong, F., & Nakagoshi, N. (2006). Spatial-temporal gradient analysis of urban green spaces in Jinan, China. Landscape and Urban Planning, 78(3), 147–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lambin, E. F., Turner, B. I., & Geist, H. J. (2001). The causes of land-use and land-cover change: Moving beyond the myths. Global Environmental Change, 11(4), 261–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Landis, J., & Zhang, M. (1998). The second generation of the California urban futures model. Part 1: Model logic and theory. Environment and Planning B, 25(5), 657–666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Li, Y., Zhao, S., Zhao, K., Xie, P., & Fang, J. (2006). Land-cover changes in an urban lake watershed in a mega-city, Central China. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 115(1), 349–359.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liu, T. (1994). Urban renewal and development of Shanghai City. Chinese Geographical Science, 4(3), 219–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Liu, Y., Wang, L., & Long, H. (2008). Spatio-temporal analysis of land-use conversion in the eastern coastal China during 1996–2005. Journal of Geographical Science, 18(3), 274–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liu, J., Zhan, J., & Deng, X. (2005). Spatio-temporal patternsand driving forces of urban land expansion in China during the economic reform era. AMBIO, 34(6), 450–455Google Scholar
  29. Luck, M., & Wu, J. (2002). A gradient analysis of urban landscape pattern: A case study from the Phoenix metropolitan region, Arizona, USA. Landscape Ecology, 17(4), 327–339.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. McDonnell, M. J., & Hahs, A. K. (2008). The use of gradient analysis studies in advancing our understanding of the ecology of urbanizing landscapes: Current status and future directions. Landscape Ecology, 23(10), 1143–1155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. McDonnell, M. J., & Pickett, S. T. A. (1990). Ecosystem structure and function along urban-rural gradients: An unexploited opportunity for ecology. Ecology, 71(4), 1232–1237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mundia, C. N., & Aniya, M. (2005). Analysis of land use/cover changes and urban expansion of Nairobi city using remote sensing and GIS. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 26(13), 2831–2849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nanjing Statistical Bureau (2007). Statistical year book of Nanjing. Beijing: China Statistics.Google Scholar
  34. Nelson, A. C. (1985). Demand, segmentation, and timing effects of an urban containment program on urban fringe land values. Urban Studies, 22(5), 439–443.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Niemelä, J. (1999). Ecology and urban planning. Biodiversity and Conservation, 8(1), 119–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pickett, S. T. A., Cadenasso, M. L., Grove, J. M., Nilon, C. H., Pouyat, R. V., Zipperer, W. C., et al. (2001). Urban ecological systems: Linking terrestrial ecological, physical, and socioeconomic components of metropolitan areas. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 32(1), 127–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ridd, M. K., & Liu, J. (1998). A comparison of four algorithms for change detection in an urban environment. Remote Sensing of Environment, 63(2), 95–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Seto, K., & Liu, W. (2003). Comparing ARTMAP neural network with the maximum-likelihood classifier for detecting urban change. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 69(9), 981–990.Google Scholar
  39. Shi, Q., Liu, M., Song, J., Xu, C., & Chen, H. (2008). Dynamic analysis on settlement percentage coverage in urbanization. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 27(11), 1979–1984.Google Scholar
  40. Sohl, T. L. (1999). Change analysis in the United Arab Emirates: An investigation of techniques. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing, 65(4), 475–484.Google Scholar
  41. Tang, M., & Yao, S. (1999). On the development of urbanization in Jiangsu Province: The process and characteristics. Chinese Journal of Economic Geography, 19(4), 117–122.Google Scholar
  42. Townshend, J. R. G., & Justice, C. O. (1988). Selecting the spatial resolution of satellite sensors required for global monitoring of land transformations. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 9(2), 1366–5901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Verburg, P. H., Soepboer, W., Veldkamp, A., Limpiada, R., Espaldon, V., & Mastura, S. S. A. (2002). Modeling the spatial dynamics of regional land use: The CLUE-S model. Environmental Management, 30(3), 391–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vermote, E., Tanre, D., Deuze, J. L., Herman, M., & Morcrette, J. J. (1997). Second simulation of the satellite signal in the solar spectrum: An overview. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 35(3), 675–686.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ward, D., Murray, A., & Phinn, S. (2000). A stochastically constrained cellular model of urban growth. Computer, Environment and Urban system, 24(6), 539–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Weng, Y. (2007). Spatiotemporal changes of landscape pattern in response to urbanization. Landscape and Urban Planning, 81(4), 341–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wu, J., Jones, K. B., Li, H., & Loucks, O. L. (2006). Scaling and uncertainty analysis in ecology: Methods and applications. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Xu, C., Liu, M., Zhang, C., An, S., Chen, J., & Yu, W. (2007). The spatiotemporal dynamics of rapid urban growth in the Nanjing metropolitan region of China. Landscape Ecology, 22(6), 925–937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chi Xu
    • 1
  • Maosong Liu
    • 1
  • Xuejiao Yang
    • 1
  • Sheng Sheng
    • 1
  • Mingjuan Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zheng Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Life SciencesNanjing UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of HorticultureNanjing Agricultural UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations