Characterizing urban expansion combining concentric-ring and grid-based analysis for Latin American Cities


Spatio-temporal characterization of urban expansion is the first step towards understanding how cities grow in space. We summarize two approaches used in urban expansion measurement, namely, concentric-ring analysis and grid-based analysis. Concentric-ring analysis divides urban areas into a series of rings, which is used to quantify the distance decay of urban elements from city centers. Grid-based analysis partitions a city into regular grids that are used to interpret local dynamics of urban growth. We combined these two approaches to characterize the urban expansion between 2000–2014 for five large Latin American cities (São Paulo, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bogotá, Columbia; Santiago, Chile). Results show that the urban land (built- up area) density in concentric rings decreases from city centers to urban fringe, which can be well fitted by an inverse S curve. Parameters of fitting curves reflect disparities of urban extents and urban form among these five cities over time. Grid-based analysis presents the transformation of population from central to suburban areas, where new urban land mostly expands. In the global context, urban expansion in Latin America is far less rapid than countries or regions that are experiencing fast urbanization, such as Asia and Africa. Urban form of Latin American cities is particularly compact because of their rugged topographies with natural limitations.


Journal Article


Urban expansion, Concentric-ring analysis, Grid-based analysis, Invers S curve, Latin America