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Jessie Standifer

Tatsuaki Gyo Shojima

Paulina Zubatov

Los Angeles Urban Development & Vegetation Change

In the past 35 years, land has transformed dramatically across the globe.Through
population changes, urbanization and changes in agricultural methods land use has adapted. This
adaptation can be seen through urban sprawl, increased road networks, and changes in green
space. Any growth in population requires development in order to accommodate the influx of
people while maintaining a functioning city. Urban sprawl has occurred through the growing
number of residential homes and apartments to accommodate the growing population. This large
horizontal spread of the city, creates more built up environment. Through the use of remote
sensing tools and ancillary data we hope to analyze the urban growth and development witnessed
by Los Angeles County since the year 1985. Understanding how urban development impacts
protected lands, green space, and residents daily lives is critical for future development.
Our research will examine urban development and growth through land cover changes
and urban expansion. Highlighting green spaces from 1985 onward, evaluating how green spaces
have changed (both privately and publicly). Through a series of directed questions, we will
evaluate how urban growth and development have affected the county. We will examine how
vegetation has changed, how development has changed, and determine whether there is a
correlation between urban and vegetation changes. Our initial hypothesis predicts that natural
vegetation is becoming more sparse, while increasingly green spaces are becoming more planned
within developments. Furthermore, we predict that urban developments are becoming more
dense, moving from low-density residences to high-density residences, while spreading in
geographic extent.

To address these questions regarding land changes in Los Angeles County we will use a
variety of methods. Using data provided by the United States Geological Survey, our research
team has downloaded Landsat TM and Landsat OLI imagery of our research area. Analyzing
imagery from winter and summer of 1985 to winter and summer of 2015, we will use the
normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and change detection to compare differences in
vegetation. To enhance our analysis, we will create our own shapefiles of classification attributes
within our research area and utilize supervised classification in ENVI to find the changes beyond
NDVI. Furthermore, through the use of additional GIS data we will depict Los Angeles
protected areas to see how these correlate with land changes which are visible through the
Landsat imagery. Through these methods we hope to examine the correlation between vegetation
and urban changes within our study area.

Analyze correlation of vegetation cover and overall environment of the city

(temp, air quality, income disparity, U.S. protected areas)

Through the use of several methods our team has discovered many interesting
developments regarding the development in Los Angeles. In Figure 1, it can be seen that in the
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) the winter season in Los Angeles has a higher
mean NDVI, with healthier vegetation. Likewise, in the dry season the mean NDVI is lower.
However, in 1985 the winter mean NDVI is higher than in 2015, but the summer mean NDVI is
lower in 1985 than in 2015. The variation between mean NDVI is greater in 1985 than in 2015.
This occurrence is interesting due to the serious drought conditions present in 2015.
Furthermore, when displaying this data, Summer 2015 looks less green than the Summer 1985
image mean NDVI, despite the data showing that the mean NDVI was higher in 2015 than 1985.
This occurrence might be due to the color display in ArcMap.

Figure 1
Data Source: USGS Earth Explorer
Figure 2: Confusion Matrix
Works Cited
Banzhaf, E., V. Grescho, and A. Kindler. "Monitoring Urban to Periurban Development with
Integrated Remote Sensing and GIS Information: A Leipzig, Germany Case Study."
International Journal of Remote Sensing 30.7 (2009): 1675-696. Taylor & Francis Online.
"List of Nature Centers in the United States." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Jan. 2017.
Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
"Los Angeles Natural Lands." Los Angeles Natural Lands. The Trust for Public Land, n.d. Web.
26 Feb. 2017.
Myint, S. W. "International Journal of Remote Sensing." Taylor and Francis Online. N.p., 2
Sept. 2007. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
Sander, Heather A. "Assessing Impacts on Urban Greenspace, Waterways, and Vegetation in
Urban Planning." Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 59.3 (2015): 461-
79. Web.
Survey, USGS - U.S. Geological. "EarthExplorer." EarthExplorer. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.
Weber, Christiane, Chryssanthi Petropoulou, and Jacky Hirsch. "Urban Development in the
Athens Metropolitan Area Using Remote Sensing Data with Supervised Analysis and GIS."
International Journal of Remote Sensing 26.4 (2005): 785-96. Web.