Forecasting Urban Land-use Change

Forcasting Urban land-use change banner

Summary / Description of Event

Aims and Scope

The International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP) Urbanization and Global Environmental Change project (UGEC) is organizing a workshop focused on forecasting urban land-use change and Earth system responses.

The purpose of the workshop is fourfold: (1) to present and compare methodological advances in forecasting urban land-use change with satellite data; (2) to characterize impacts of urban land-use change on the Earth system (e.g., loss of agricultural land, habitat fragmentation, carbon sequestration and emissions); (3) to assess the utility of current models and forecasts of urban land-use change for land managers, urban planners, policymakers, conservation agencies and other stakeholders who have an interest in identifying the likely location, size and shape of future urban growth; (4) to facilitate a discussion among users and developers of models in identifying gaps in knowledge, methodologies, and typology of case studies. One output of the workshop will be a paper on state-of-the-art methodologies and case studies of forecasts of urban land-use change, with focus on urban centers in middle and low income countries.

Workshop Participants

Approximately 20 participants are invited to meet for 2-3 days. The themes of the workshop will be examined from different disciplinary perspectives (e.g., geography, urban planning, remote sensing, economics, conservation, and landscape ecology) and methodological approaches (e.g., remote sensing, statistical and econometric modeling, system dynamics modeling, agent-based models). Workshop participants will include urban growth modelers, urban planners, users of urban growth models, and other stakeholders.

Workshop Topics

Background papers written by selected participants will present overviews of the current state of knowledge on the themes and will serve as the basis for the discussions. Workshop discussions will be organized around 3 broad policy-relevant themes: data, spatial and temporal scales, and applications. Participants will receive the papers in advance and be asked to submit comments and questions. Minimal presentations will be given at the workshop. During the workshop, participants will discuss research questions and gaps raised by the background papers. At the conclusion of the workshop, the group will produce a report that documents the workshop discussion.

Questions to be discussed in the background papers and during the workshop include: What do we know about future urban land-use change and how does it relate to other land uses and land covers? What is the policy relevance of urban growth models; do they provide solutions to problems associated with rapid urbanization in the face of global environmental change? Are there steps to be taken that make urban growth forecasting more policy relevant?

Workshop Rationale

Developing nations are faced with projections of rapid urbanization (United Nations, 2004). Between 2000 and 2030, developed countries will contribute only approximately 12% of their current urban population to the increase of global urban population. Urban areas of the less developed countries will absorb nearly all growth of the world’s total population. By 2030, Asia and Africa will each have more urban dwellers than any other major area, with Asia alone accounting for over half of the urban population of the world (which now is one of the least urbanized regions in the world). 20 out of 25 highest estimated average annual urban population rates of change between 2000 and 2030 are projected for African nations (United Nations, 2004). For example, countries such as Ethiopia, the Congo, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Philippines and China had significantly high existing urban population at the turn of the century of above 10 million urban residents and around or higher than average (2.3%) estimated annual urban population rate of change for that period. While estimates regarding the growth of urban population are available, we do not know how they will compare to the extent, rate of growth and the pattern of physical urban expansion. Assuming similar urban expansion patterns to those experienced to date, the amount of urban land could double or easily more than double, factoring in rising incomes (Seto and Fragkias, 2005). The comparative importance of extent, rate of change or pattern within the urbanization and global environmental change framework is great; distinct spatial manifestations of urban growth have the capacity to drive the occurrence and intensity of environmental effects. From a population growth perspective, negative environmental effects of cities with larger populations are potentially severe but rates of change of urban population are weakly correlated with environmental problems (United Nations, 2001). The urban physical development perspective, while considering the importance of extent and rates of growth of urban space, emphasizes the significance of pattern in the severity of environmental effects of urban growth; the effects of different urban forms though is still understudied and less understood and have been defined as a research priority by the UGEC project.


Organizers / Coordination

Karen C. SetoCo-Chair, IHDP Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project & Associate Professor, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Michail FragkiasExecutive Officer, IHDP Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project, Arizona State University

Corrie GriffithCoordinator, IHDP Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project, Arizona State University

The workshop will be held in parallel with an NSF-sponsored workshop, “Advances in Urban Remote Sensing,” co-organized by Elizabeth Wentz (Arizona State) and Maik Netzband (Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany). Morning sessions will be held independently within the urban remote sensing and urban forecasting workshops. The afternoon sessions will be held jointly between the two groups.


 List of Participants and Bios

Rimjhim Aggarwal, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA

Dr. Aggarwal’s research explores global dimensions of sustainability such as the links between globalization, local ecosystems, and poverty in less-developed countries. She has conducted extensive field work on groundwater-irrigation institutions in India; her recent research examines the emerging tradeoffs between water availability and the growing demands of agriculture in dry-land regions of the world. Keywords: resource and environmental economics; water conflicts; poverty

Shlomo (Solly) Angel, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and international Affairs, Princeton University, USA

Shlomo Angel is currently a fellow at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, completing a series of research papers, a policy focus report, a book and an atlas focusing on global urban expansion. Dr. Angel is an Adjunct Professor of Urban Planning at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University, and a Lecturer in Public and International Affairs and the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University. Dr. Angel has written extensively on issues of housing policy and urban development strategies in developing countries. He is the author of Housing Policy Matters: A Global Analysis (2000), as well as of recent housing sector assessments commissioned by the Inter-American Development Bank in more than 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is also a co-author of the World Bank’s housing policy paper titled Housing: Enabling Markets to Work (1992) and the co-editor of Land for Housing the Poor (1982).

Keith Clarke, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA

Dr. Keith C. Clarke is a research cartographer and professor, with the M.A. and Ph. D. from the University of Michigan, specializing in Analytical Cartography. His most recent research has been on environmental simulation modeling, on modeling urban growth using cellular automata, on terrain mapping and analysis, and on real-time visualization. He is the author of thee textbooks in eighteditions, and over a hundred and fifty book chapters, journal articles, and papers in the fields of cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems. Former two-term Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Mapping Sciences Committee, Dr. Clarke recently chaired National Research Council studies on the National Map and and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, and served on the USGS Geography Discipline long term science planning team, for which he received the USGS’s John Wesley Powell Award in 2005.

Richard Dawson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research: Cities Programme, Newcastle University, UK

Richard Dawson is leader of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Cities Programme and is Chair of the EU COST Network TU0902 on ‘Integrated assessment of urban areas for sustainable development’. Dr. Dawson currently holds a research fellowship from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and has a general interest in understanding coupled human, environmental and engineered systems under global change. His research has used a range of datasets and methods, including remote sensing, socioeconomic and geophysical data, spatial interaction, network and econometric models to understand the processes of land use change and their associated environmental risks. As a trained Civil Engineer he has a particular interest in the role of infrastructure in mediating these changes and risks. Dr. Dawson is an editor of the Springer ‘Future City’ book series and in 2003 the the Institution of Civil Engineers awarded him the Sir Robert Alfred Carr prize for his work on environmental risk assessment.

Xiangzheng Deng, Institute of Geographic Science and Nature Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Xiangzheng Deng is a professor of Geography at the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). He is also a senior policy advisor and a research fellow from the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences. An expert in cartography and GIS by training, his research uses a combination of satellite remote sensing, socioeconomic and geophysical data, household surveys, and a range of spatial statistical and econometric models to gain insight on the patterns and processes of land cover and land use changes. Most of his research centers around the causes and dynamics of urban land expansion, the environmental and societal consequences of urbanization, the simulation and prediction of the dynamics of land systems, and the integration of data and models for documenting the land change science. Since 2010, he has been one of the SSC members of the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP). He is the recipient of an award for science and technology from Hainan Provincial Government, a research grant from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China, a CAS new investigator program award, and a foundation award from the National Natural Science Foundation of China. He is the author of over eighty peer-reviewed paper and three monographers on dynamics and consequences of land system change.

Peter Omu Elias, Department of Geography, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Dr. Peter Elias holds a Ph. D degree in Geography (Soil and Land Use Planning) from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, specializing in Soil, Geomorphology and Land Use Planning. He is a registered Urban and Regional Planner with the Town Planners’ Registration Council of Nigeria. He currently teaches and conducts researches both at the graduate and undergraduate levels in the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, Nigeria. His current research interest focuses on the integration of biophysical and social systems in the context of global environmental change especially in the areas of coupled human and natural systems, urban land use change impact on natural ecosystems, urban land use change impacts on livelihoods of marginalized communities, relationships between dynamics of demographic characteristics and urban ecosystems, etc. He deploys basic skills in Urban Growth Dynamics and Forecasting Models, Vulnerability Assessment Index, Geospatial and Geo-Accumulation Techniques, etc in his research activities. He belongs to several research networks including Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC), Arizona State University Tempe, USA and Population and Environment Research Network (PERN), Columbia University, New York, USA. He has initiated and conducted a number of research activities in the Department of Geography, University of Lagos, including characterization of the patterns of urbanization and vulnerability of ecosystems in the coastal megacity of Lagos (2009-2010), urban land use change impact on livelihoods of marginalized communities in Lagos (2010 – till date), geomorphologic processes and land form evolution in Floodplains, Basement complex and Sedimentary rock formations of Lower Ogun River (2004-2009), soils and land use in diverse agro-ecological zones of Lower Ogun River (2004-2009), and anthropogenic disturbances in the landscape of Metropolitan Lagos (2009-till date), among others. He was a Research Assistant with SEDEC Associates on the FGN/UNDP sponsored study of the State of the Nigerian Environment (2008), Principal Investigator in the Jawura Environmental Services Limited/FEPA commissioned studies including: (i) the socioeconomic impact assessment of Fast Moving Goods Manufacturing Companies in Lagos (2008-2009), and Field Supervisor in the Daimler Geographics/PHCN Project on the Consumer Indexing/Deployment of GIS for Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Otta-Abeokuta Business Unit (2009-2010).

Michail Fragkias, Executive Officer, IHDP Urbanization and Global Environmental Change core project, Arizona State University, USA

Michail Fragkias holds a Ph.D. in Economics (Clark University, 2004) and actively researches topics on urban dynamics and global environmental change. From September of 2003 to September of 2006, Michail was a postdoctoral scholar at the Center for Environmental Science and Policy at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Currently (and since November of 2006) he is the Executive Officer of the IHDP Urbanization and Global Environmental Change project housed by the Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. He has published in journals such as Landscape Ecology, Global Environmental Change, Environment and Planning B. His research interests focus on urban land use change, urban growth modeling, urban spatial structure and its interactions with the environment. In his current position, at the IHDP Urbanization and Global Environmental Change (UGEC) project, together with a group of international scholars he is contributing to the efforts for a better understanding of the interactions and feedbacks between global environmental change (GEC) and urbanization at the local, regional, and global scales. The project is a platform for co-ordination for an interdisciplinary network of researchers and practitioners and targets the enhancement of exchanges of experiences and knowledge. It facilitates co-operation within and among various world regions with respect to theories, models and methods, state policies and local initiatives related to Urbanization and Global Environmental Change.

Tyler Frazier, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Tyler Frazier is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Transportation System Planning and Telematics at the Technische Universität Berlin. He holds a PhD from the Universität Bonn in Geographical Sciences and Urban Studies, a Masters from the Georgia Institute of Technology in City and Regional Planning and a Bachelors from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Architectural History. He has more than ten years of professional urban planning experience in both the public and private sectors as well as in the developed and developing worlds. Research interests are primarily focused in the areas of geographical sciences, urban simulation, statistical modeling and infrastructure planning. Current project work is focused on the continued development of the Greater Accra Urban Simulation System (GAUSS), coupling a transportation model, and other types of infrastructure demand models for public services, primarily as they pertain to urban poverty reduction and its implicit regional effects. Next steps involve simulating the introduction of modern land use planning methods, such as comprehensive planning, zoning, land development and building permitting as a means for democratic local and regional governments to quantitatively and qualitatively visualize potential policy paths, with primary focus upon Africa and the Americas. Ty is also an accredited member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP).

Arijit Guha, PhD student, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University

Arijit Guha is a PhD student in the School of Sustainability, Arizona State University. He has a MA from the Graduate School of Geography, Clark University (Worcester, MA). His research interests are focused around urban sustainability from the perspectives of land-use/change and water resources management, especially as it pertains to issues of suburbanization and water stress in an era of changing climate. Specifically his research examines linkages between urban spatial form and its impacts on environmental outcomes (in particular, water use), how towns are differentially vulnerable to water stresses as a consequence of particular spatial development patterns and management decisions, what adaptive measures are available to mitigate adverse impacts, what factors serve to enable or constrain effective adaptation, and understanding the trade-offs involved in such adaptations over both space and time. This research is informed by theory and practice from vulnerability studies, sustainable land architecture, and adaptive governance.

Subhro Guhathakurta, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, USA

Subhro is Professor and Associate Director of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University (ASU). He is also among the founding faculty members of ASU’s School of Sustainability and holds a faculty appointment in that school. Professor Guhathakurta was instrumental in developing the Urban Modeling and Simulation Lab in ASU’s College of Design and subsequently directed the ‘Digital Phoenix’ project. He now serves as the lead member of several research centers at ASU including the GeoDa Center for Geospatial Analysis and Computation, Decision Center for a Desert City, and the project on Sustainable Urban Systems, Technologies, and Infrastructure (SUSTaIn). He is an author of 5 books and monographs and over 70 scientific papers. He has held visiting appointments at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis at University College London, the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, and at the Center for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. More recently, he held the German National Science Foundation (DFG) Mercator Guestprofessorship at Technische Universitat Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Burak Güneralp, Department of Geography, Texas A&M University, USA

Burak Güneralp was a postdoctoral scholar at the Geology and Environmental Sciences Department of Stanford University and Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies before joining the faculty at the Department of Geography at Texas A&M University in early 2010. An industrial engineer by training, he earned his Ph.D. in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in late 2006. His interests focus on the interactions between urbanization and socio-economic and environmental changes across scales including processes behind different patterns of urban land change. More recently, his primary focus has been on tracing and quantifying direct and indirect impacts of urbanization on the environment through an urban metabolism perspective. His broader research interests include spatio-temporal systems analysis and modeling, socio-economic and socio-ecological management problems, and formal analysis of structure-behavior relations in dynamic models.

Geoffrey Henebry, The Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence (GIScCE), South Dakota State University, USA

Geoffrey M. Henebry earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College (Santa Fe) in 1982, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from the University of Texas at Dallas in 1986 and 1989, respectively. Since 2005 Geoff has been Professor of Biology and Geography and Senior Research Scientist at the Geographic Information Science Center of Excellence ( at South Dakota State University. His research interests are broad, but a recurrent theme is the use of remote sensing to study ecological patterns and processes, including quantitative analysis and modeling of land surface phenology and land cover land use change. He has worked across with a wide spatio-temporal-spectral range of observational data: wavelengths from 10-8 to 10-2 m, periods from 101 to 107 s, and areal extents from 10-1 to 1012 m2. He is currently working with colleagues on diverse projects in Russia, Central Asia, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Northern Great Plains of the North America. Geoff serves on the editorial boards of BioScience, Landscape Ecology, and Applied Vegetation Science and on the Board of Directors of the USA-National Phenology Network (

Claire Jantz, Department of Geography & Earth Science, Shippensburg University, USA

Dr. Jantz earned a PhD in geography from the University of Maryland in 2005. She is currently an Associate Professor of geography and Shippensburg University, where she has been on faculty for six years. Prior to her arrival at Shippensburg, she worked for two years as a Research Associate at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Her research focuses on land use and land cover change, especially urbanization and its impacts on ecosystem processes (water quality, hydrology, ecosystem services)—and, increasingly, feedbacks between these human and environmental systems. She has worked extensively in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States and has been engaged in multiple projects to simulate and forecast urbanization at local and regional scales. She is currently working on a project funded by the National Science Foundation’s Biocomplexity of Coupled Natural and Human Systems program to link an urban growth model with a fully-coupled, physically-based three-dimensional hydrologic model to evaluate the effects of growth on water availability and limits to water supply using the Baltimore metropolitan region as a case study.

Donghwan Kim, Department of Economics, Stony Brook University, NY, USA

Donghwan Kim, Dong-Hwan for pronunciation, has been interested in urbanization and econometrics, focusing on forecasting of urbanization process and analysis of related so- cial, economic, demographic, and environmental issues, especially in developing countries. Currently, he is a doctoral candidate in Economics at Stony Brook University, completing his thesis titled Econometric Modeling of City Population Growth in Developing Countries. After graduation, he will work as a postdoctoral associate at School of Forestry and Environ- mental Studies at Yale University. His research interests include urban economics, spatial econometrics, Bayesian modeling, and numerical methods. While pursuing the PhD, he was a consultant at the Population Council in New York and a research associate of an in- terdisplinary project, Revitalizing Urban Population Projections: New Data, New Methods.

José Lobo, School of Human Evolution & Social Change, Arizona State University, USA

José Lobo is interested in determinants of metropolitan economic performance and location-specific economic growth; the application of machine learning, data mining and spatial statistics methods to the study of socioeconomic data; causes and consequences of urban size and scale; and how the characteristics of individuals, organizations, institutions and social networks interact to create “regions of innovation.” Lobo has acted as visiting researcher at the Santa Fe Institute and Italy’s Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia. Currently, he is on the faculty steering committee for ASU’s Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity.

Darla Munroe, Department of Geography, Ohio State, USA

Darla Munroe is an Associate Professor of Geography at Ohio State University. Her research and teaching interests are at the intersection of economics, geography, and environmental science. She has authored articles in Environment and Planning B, Professional Geographer, Applied Geography, and the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, as well as in multiple interdisciplinary journals. She serves on the editorial boards for International Regional Science Review and Land Use Policy. Her work largely seeks to examine how economic changes are distributed on the landscape in the form of land-use change. One key concern is the impact of economic restructuring at the rural-urban fringe. She is currently Principal Investigator on an NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural-Human Systems grant examining the socioecologies of forest regrowth in Appalachian Ohio. Her work employs a variety of techniques including statistics, spatial statistics and more recently, complex systems frameworks and agent-based modeling. She recently served as the Chair of the Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group in the Association of American Geographers. Before coming to the Ohio State University, she taught at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and conducted postdoctoral studies at the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change (CIPEC) at Indiana University. She received a BA from the University of Colorado, an MA from the University of Michigan, and a PhD from the University of Illinois.

Robert (Gil) Pontius, School of Geography, Clark University, USA

Robert Gilmore Pontius Jr, “Gil” for short, is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University in Massachusetts, USA. Gil earned a Master of Applied Statistics from The Ohio State University and a doctorate from the State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He has been creating, comparing, and evaluating land change models since 1990. For example, he created the land-use change model Geomod and several statistical techniques to compare maps at multiple resolutions. These methods have been incorporated into the GIS software Idrisi, which has over 100,000 users worldwide. Professor Pontius teaches a workshop concerning land change modeling that he has conducted numerous times since 2003 in Ecuador, France, Greece, India, Japan, The Netherlands, Russia, Portugal, and five cities in the USA. Pontius is on the editorial boards of: International Journal of Geographical Science, Landscape Ecology, Remote Sensing Letters, and Annals of Association of American Geographers. He is active in three programs funded by funded by the United States’ National Science Foundation: Long Term Ecological Research (LTER), Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO), and Urban Long Term Research Areas (ULTRA). To see the products of his activities, visit rpontius.

Milap Punia, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Dr. Milap Punia is Associate Professor at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi since October 2006. His research interests include RS, GIS & Geovisualisation and he is Co-Principal Scientist for “National Resource Repository: National Level land Use and Land Cover mapping using AWiFS multi-temporal datasets – (ISRO)” for Region-4 (North India) comprising Jammu and Kashmir, Uttranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, and Delhi. Dr. Punia has worked in the Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Division at Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (NRSC-ISRO) Department of Space from February, 2002 to October 2006 as Scientist and was involved in the teaching, training and research activities of the Institute. He has taught various aspects of remote sensing, namely physics of remote sensing, platforms and sensors, hyperspectral remote sensing, cartography and cartographic visualization. He was Adjunct Faculty, Center for Space Science and Technology Education in Asia and the Pacific (Affiliated to the UN), in Dehradun India from February, 2002 to October, 2006. He has also spent three and half years as Lecturer in Geography in Govt. P.G. College Dausa, teaching courses in Geography from November, 1998 to February, 2002.

Ray Quay, Decision Center for a Desert City, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA

Mr. Quay has been associated with the Decision Center for a Desert City project since 2004 as a stakeholder, advisor, and researcher. In his former position as an Assistant Director of the Water Services Department for the City of Phoenix, Ray was involved with DCDC in stakeholder outreach, water demand and heat island research, and in the application of climate change science and research to public adaptation policy and programs. Ray joined the DCDC project in 2010 as an academic professional. His involvement will now include expanding the capabilities and facilitating the use of WaterSIM as a research and public policy tool, expanding DCDC’s stakeholder outreach with water managers and land use planners, facilitating the initiation and development of academic research that is applicable to current and future public policy issues, and participating directly in various DCDC supported research. Ray’s research interests include advanced scenario planning, anticipatory governance, climate change impacts and adaptation, water demand analysis and models, regional growth, and visualization of sustainability and uncertainty. Professional Preparation – Baylor University, Biology and Environmental Studies, B.S., 1976; University of Texas at Austin, Community and Regional Planning, M.S., 1978; Arizona State University, Environmental Design and Planning, Ph.D. Candidate, Present

Charles Redman, Founding Director, School of Sustainability, Arizona State University, USA

Charles Redman has been committed to interdisciplinary research since as an archaeology graduate student he worked closely in the field with botanists, zoologists, geologists, art historians, and ethnographers. Redman received his BA from Harvard University, and his MA and PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. He taught at New York University and at SUNY-Binghamton before coming to Arizona State University in 1983. Since then, he served nine years as Chair of the Department of Anthropology, seven years as Director of the Center for Environmental Studies and, in 2004, was chosen to be the Julie Ann Wrigley Director of the newly formed Global Institute of Sustainability. From 2007-2010, Redman was the founding director of ASU’s School of Sustainability. Redman’s interests include human impacts on the environment, sustainable landscapes, rapidly urbanizing regions, urban ecology, environmental education, and public outreach. He is the author or co-author of 14 books including Explanation in Archaeology, The Rise of Civilization, People of the Tonto Rim, Human Impact on Ancient Environments and, most recently, co-edited four books: The Archaeology of Global Change, Applied Remote Sensing for Urban Planning, Governance and Sustainability, Agrarian Landscapes in Transition, and Polities and Power: Archaeological Perspectives on the Landscapes of Early States. Redman is currently working on building upon the extensive research portfolio of the Global Institute of Sustainability and teaching in the School of Sustainability which is educating a new generation of leaders through collaborative learning, transdisciplinary approaches, and problem-oriented training to address the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the 21st Century.

Karen Seto, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University, USA

Karen Seto is an Associate Professor at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. She studies the human transformation of land and the links between urbanization and global change. A geographer by training, her research focuses on satellite remote sensing to characterize land-use dynamics, forecasting urban growth, and examining the environmental consequences of land-use change and urban expansion. Her geographic region of specialization is China,where she has worked on urban development issues for more than fifteen years. She also has research projects in India, Vietnam, and Qatar. She is co-chair of the Urbanization and Global Environmental Change Project (UGEC) of the International Human Dimensions Programme of Global Environmental Change (IHDP), and a Coordinating Lead Author for Working Group III of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report. She also serves on the U.S. Carbon Cycle Scientific Steering Group, the U.S. National Research Council Geographical Sciences Committee, and the Scientific Steering Committee of the IPCC Working Groups II and III Expert Meeting on Human Settlements and Infrastructure. She recently served on the U.S. National Research Council’s Committee on Strategic Direction for the Geographic Sciences in the Next Decade, which produced the report “Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences.”

William Solecki, Department of Geography, Hunter College of the City University of New York, USA

Dr. Solecki is Professor and Chairperson, Department of Geography, Hunter College of the City University of New York. Dr. Solecki’s research focuses on the human dimensions of global environmental change, land use and land cover change, and environmental risks and hazards. Dr. Solecki led the Metropolitan East Coast Region Assessment for the U.S. National Assessment of Climate Variability and Change. He is a panel member of the Committee on Population and Land Use of the U.S. National Research Council, and a member of U.S. National Committee on the Scientific Committee of Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), National Research Council. He also is the Chair of the Human Dimensions of Global Change Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. He serves on the editorial board of the journals Urban Ecosystems, Social Science Quarterly, and Professional Geographer. Bill is a member of the UGEC Scientific Steering Committee. His education includes a Ph.D., 1990, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey – Geography, and along with many others has participated in the (2007) IPCC Working Group II Contribution to The Fourth Assessment Report. He was a contributing author for Chapter 7. Industry, Settlement, and Society, and Chapter 14. North America; and Solecki, W.D. and Rosenzweig, C. (2007). Climate Change and Cities. In Cities as Heroes in the Face of Environmental Change. Bai, X. Ed. Yale University Press.


Background Papers


Background Notes

Richard Dawson on Scale
Burak Güneralp on Case Studies
Geoffrey Henebry on Data
Darla Munroe on Scale

General Questions

1. What are the key urban remote sensing/urban modeling and forecasting issues that you represent?
2. What are the key challenges, missing opportunities, and exciting developments in your theme and region?
3. Why are we not seeing more studies on smaller urban areas?
4. What platform/data/access limitations do you currently/frequently encounter?
5. How do these limitations affect our ability to monitor, model and forecast urban areas?
6. What do you see as missing in terms of case studies and methods?

Keith Clarke
Xiangzheng Deng
Richard Dawson
Peter Omu Elias
Tyler Frazier
Subhro Guhathakurta
Burak Güneralp
Geoffrey Henebry
Claire Jantz
Jose Lobo
Darla Munroe
Robert Pontius
Milap Punia
Ray Quay
Karen Seto
William Solecki



Dell’Acqua, F., Wentz, E.A., Myint, S.W., & Netzband, M. (2011). Understanding the Drivers and Consequences of Global Urbanization using Emerging Remote Sensing Technologies.

UGEC Policy Report #5: Urban Remote Sensing and Urban Growth Forecasting Workshop Report | December 2011

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