Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Greene, Richard P.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Geography


Land use; Urban--Illinois; Geographic information systems; Land use; rural--Illinois


This thesis examines the amount, rate, and spatial pattern of nonurban to urban land use change occurring on the urban-rural fringe of the Chicago metropolitan region. The urban-rural fringe is losing its rural character at a rapid rate. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to some of the issues of urban growth on the urban-rural fringe and includes a description of the study area. The study area was selected based on its relative location between several coalescing urbanized areas. Population statistics from 1980 to 1990 indicate that urban growth is quite prevalent throughout the study area. Chapter 2 provides background information on four critical aspects of research on land use change. The first relates to how urban land is defined. The second involves the concept of change detection and how it is measured. Third is the introduction of satellite data as a source for detecting change. Finally, pixel and object based methods of detecting urban land use change with remote sensor data are compared. The comparison of these two methods concludes with a justification for adopting the object based approach as the methodology for this research. Chapter 3 provides a methodological approach for detecting urban land use change. 1987 and 1991 SPOT multispectral (XS) and Panchromatic data, and large scale aerial photography, are acquired and used as the primary source data for detecting urban land use change. The USGS Level II classification system is adopted for categorization of 1987 and 1991 urban land use. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) techniques are used to detect areas of change. Chapter 4 analyzes the amount, character, and spatial pattern of urban land use change. Residential land use change dominates the study area, accounting for 60 percent of the total amount of change. Clusters of growth are identified in the southern and northern portions of the study area and indicate a strong spatial orientation to "edge cities." Specific development constraints are analyzed as one explanation of the absence of urban land use change in certain locations. In total, 14 percent of the study area changed from nonurban land to urban land between 1987 and 1991.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [79]-83)


v, 83 pages




Northern Illinois University

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