Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2018

Publication Title

PLoS One

ISSN

1932-6203

Volume

13

Issue

12

First Page

0208487

Last Page

0208487

PubMed ID

30586443

Abstract

Most of future population growth will take place in the world's cities and towns. Yet, there is no well-established, consistent way to measure either urban land or people. Even census-based urban concepts and measures undergo frequent revision, impeding rigorous comparisons over time and place. This study presents a new spatial approach to derive consistent urban proxies for the US. It compares census-designated urban blocks with proxies for land-based classifications of built-up areas derived from time-series of the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL) for 1990-2010. This comparison provides a new way to understand urban structure and its changes: Most land that is more than 50% built-up, and people living on such land, are officially classified as urban. However, 30% of the census-designated urban population and land is located in less built-up areas that can be characterized as mainly suburban and peri-urban in nature. Such insights are important starting points for a new urban research program: creating globally and temporally consistent proxies to guide modelling of urban change.

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