Current Projects

Urban Cluster Development and Agricultural Land Loss in China and India

The magnitude of urban population growth in India and China are now well known; less well understood are the associated changes in land use and urban morphology, and the social, economic, and political processes driving them. Rather than treating cities as bounded administrative units, economic and political science research use “urban clusters” as the functional unit of analysis: the agglomerated urban areas affected by spatially linked socioeconomic processes, often extending across multiple urban areas and satellites. By detecting and quantifying hotspots of urban cluster growth, we can better account for the drivers of urban land expansion as well as its impacts on agricultural land.

Key research questions of this project are:
  1. Which regions of China and India are hotspots of urban cluster growth?
  2. How will the growth of one urban region affect the development of others? That is, to what extent is urban expansion affected by or affects development in nearby or distant places?
  3. How much of the total urban growth in China and India be dominated by smaller urban cluster development?
  4. What effect does urban land conversion have on agricultural land loss, and how does the effect vary regionally?
This project is sponsored by a NASA under a Land-Cover/Land-Use Change Program grant.

Karen Seto, Qingling ZhangPeter ChristensenChris Shughrue, Nick AllenBhartendu Pandey, Li Jiang, Qian Zhang, Mahesh Ramachandran

External collaborators

Xiangzheng DengMichail Fragkias, P.K. JoshiJiyuan Liu, Vikramāditya Prakāsh, Annemarie SchneiderJeremy Wallace

Urban cluster growth hotspots detected from DMSP/OLS nighttime lights in China (at county level) and India (at district level) over three periods: 1992-1997, 1997-2003, 2003-2010.