Megacities Spatiotemporal Dynamics Monitored with the Global Human Settlement Layer

Melchiorri, Michele and Florczyk, Aneta and Freire, Sergio and Ehrlich, Daniele and Schiavina, Marcello and Pesaresi, Martino and KEmper, Thomas (2018) Megacities Spatiotemporal Dynamics Monitored with the Global Human Settlement Layer. REAL CORP 2018 – EXPANDING CITIES – DIMINISHING SPACE. Are “Smart Cities” the solution or part of the problem of continuous urbanisation around the globe? Proceedings of 23rd International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information. pp. 285-294. ISSN 2521-3938

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Megacities are urban agglomerations hosting at least 10 million inhabitants. The rise in number, population size, and spatial extent of megacities are among the most prominent manifestations of the process of urbanisation taking place in the contemporary urban age. Until recently, urban growth has been quantified with data derived from satellites mainly for single megacities or for a limited subset of them. With the current advances in Remote Sensing and data processing, the integration of satellite data with other datasets could become a key contributor to the data revolution and support more complete urban studies and better informed policymaking. Although many remote sensing-derived products exist, few are open and free and possess the adequate resolution, information and contents to monitor the process of urban expansion. This research article builds on the premier open and free geospatial information contained in the Global Human Settlements Layer (GHSL) data package (produced at the European Commission - Joint Research Centre). This research takes advantage of existing GHSL data to identify megacities and to analyse their spatial and demographic change over the last 25 years (between 1990 and 2015). This paper quantifies how much and how fast megacities have expanded in spatial and demographic terms, and we provide graphical examples of the different manifestations of growth across megacities. The main findings of our research reveal an average demographic growth in megacities exceeding 2% a year between 1990 and 2000, and of 1.9% a year between 2000 and 2015. In the first period (1990 to 2000), megacities have expanded faster than the global average and more than the average of other urban centres. In the second period, global urban population increase has been greater than that of megacities. The comparative analysis of megacities however, reveals swift population growth in several cases: in seven cities population more than doubled between 1990 and 2015, and in six the average annual population growth exceeded 4% a year. Spatial expansion of megacities tends to occur at rates slower than that of population. In 27 cities built-up per capita has decreased over 25 years, by more than 10% in 17 cities. Megacities also differ in population density (in 2015), which in five is above 10,000 inhabitants per square kilometre, while in others, especially the ones in high-income countries, density remains around half this figure. Results highlight the value of new remote sensing-based data and methods for mapping and characterizing global urbanisation processes, in a consistent and comparable manner across space and time. The provision of open and free data ensures methods and findings can be audited and analyses extended to other cities, while the temporal dimension enables monitoring urbanisation and intergovernmental policies on sustainable urban development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: planning urban growth, earth observations, megacities, urban expansion, GHSL
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA76 Computer software
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2018 18:25
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2018 18:25

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