Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2015, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (1): 3-18.doi: 10.1007/s11442-015-1149-z

• Orginal Article •     Next Articles

Spatio-temporal characteristics of intra-urban land cover in the cities of China and USA from 1978 to 2010

Wenfeng CHI1,2(), Wenjiao SHI1, Wenhui KUANG1,*()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2014-06-05 Accepted:2014-08-15 Online:2015-01-15 Published:2015-01-15
  • Contact: Wenhui KUANG;
  • About author:

    Author: Chi Wenfeng, PhD, specialized in land use and cover change.

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41371408;National High-Tech R&D Program of China, No.2013AA122802;National Basic Research Program of China, No.2010CB950900;No.2014CB954302;National Key Technology R&D Program, No.2012BAJ15B02


Urban land cover has major impacts on a city’s ecosystem services and the inherent quality of its urban residential environment. The spatio-temporal distribution of impervious surface area and green areas in Chinese cities has exhibited a significantly marked difference in comparison with USA cities. This study focused on monitoring and comparing the spatio-temporal dynamics, land cover patterns and characteristics of functional regions in six Chinese (n=3) and USA (n=3) cities. The study data were collated from Landsat TM/MSS imagery during the period 1978-2010. Results indicate that Chinese cities have developed compactly over the past three decades, while development has been notably dispersed among USA cities. Mean vegetation coverage in USA cities is approximately 2.2 times that found amongst Chinese urban agglomerations. Land use types within Chinese cities are significantly more complex, with a higher density of impervious surface area. Conversely, the central business district (CBD) and residential areas within USA cities were comprised of a lower proportion of impervious surface area and a higher proportion of green land. Results may be used to contribute to future urban planning and administration efforts in both China and the USA.

Key words: urban structure, impervious surface area, vegetation, China, USA, remote sensing