Earth Science Informatics

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 567–578 | Cite as

Using landscape indicators and Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to determine the optimum spatial scale of urban land use patterns in Wuhan, China

  • Qiuping Huang
  • Jiejun HuangEmail author
  • Yunjun Zhan
  • Wei Cui
  • Yanbin Yuan
Research Article


Quantifying land use patterns and functions is critical for modeling urban ecological processes, and an emerging challenge is to apply models at multiple spatial scales. Methods of determining the optimum scale of land use patterns are commonly considered using landscape metrics. Landscape metrics are quantitative indicators for analyzing landscape heterogeneity at the landscape level. In this study, due to their widespread use in urban landscape analyses and well-documented effectiveness in quantifying landscape patterns, landscape metrics that represent dominance, shape, fragmentation and connectivity were selected. Five metrics include Patch Density, Contagion, Landscape Shape Index, Aggregation Index and Connectivity. Despite a wide application of landscape metrics for land use studies, the majority mainly focuses on the qualitative analysis of the characteristics of landscape metrics. The previous models are limited in exploring the optimum scale of land use patterns for their lack of quantitation. Therefore, taking the City of Wuhan as an example, the land use unit was treated as a patch, and the landscape pattern metrics at different spatial scales were calculated and compared so as to find the optimum one. Furthermore, a mathematical model of landscape metrics was proposed to quantify the scale effect of urban land use patterns, generating a complementary tool to select the optimum scale. In addition, Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) was introduced to determine the respective weights of the chosen landscape metrics in this model. Fractal dimension was ultimately applied to verify the chosen optimum scale of our study region. The results indicated that 60 m is confirmed to be the optimum scale for capturing the spatial variability of land use patterns in this study area.


Urban land use patterns Optimum scale Landscape metrics Analytic hierarchy process Fractal dimension 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41571514), and the Wuhan Science and Technology Plan Program under Grant 2016010101010023.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Qiuping Huang
    • 1
  • Jiejun Huang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yunjun Zhan
    • 1
  • Wei Cui
    • 1
  • Yanbin Yuan
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Regional Planning and Management, School of Resource and Environmental EngineeringWuhan University of TechnologyWuhanChina

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