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Incorporating density in spatiotemporal land use/cover change patterns: The case of Attica, Greece

Gounaridis, D and Symeonakis, E and Chorianopoulos, I and Koukoulas, S (2018) Incorporating density in spatiotemporal land use/cover change patterns: The case of Attica, Greece. Remote Sensing, 10 (7). pp. 1-18. ISSN 2072-4292

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Abstract

This paper looks at the periodic land use/cover (LUC) changes that occurred in Attica, Greece from 1991 to 2016. During this period, land transformations were mostly related to the artificial LUC categories; therefore, the aim was to map LUC with a high thematic resolution aimed at these specific categories, according to their density and continuity. The classification was implemented using the Random Forests (RF) machine learning algorithm and the presented methodological framework involved a high degree of automation. The results revealed that the majority of the expansion of the built-up areas took place at the expense of agricultural land. Moreover, mapping and quantifying the LUC changes revealed three uneven phases of development, which reflect the socioeconomic circumstances of each period. The discontinuous low-density urban fabric started to increase rapidly around 2003, reaching 7% (from 2.5% in 1991), and this trend continued, reaching 12% in 2016. The continuous as well as the discontinuous dense urban fabric, almost doubled throughout the study period. Agricultural areas were dramatically reduced to almost half of what they were in 1991, while forests, scrubs, and other natural areas remained relatively stable, decreasing only by 3% in 25 years.

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