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The Urban Environmental Monitoring/100 Cities Project: Legacy of the First Phase and Next StepsThe Urban Environmental Monitoring (UEM) project, now known as the 100 Cities Project, at Arizona State University (ASU) is a baseline effort to collect and analyze remotely sensed data for 100 urban centers worldwide. Our overarching goal is to use remote sensing technology to better understand the consequences of rapid urbanization through advanced biophysical measurements, classification methods, and modeling, which can then be used to inform public policy and planning. Urbanization represents one of the most significant alterations that humankind has made to the surface of the earth. In the early 20th century, there were less than 20 cities in the world with populations exceeding 1 million; today, there are more than 400. The consequences of urbanization include the transformation of land surfaces from undisturbed natural environments to land that supports different forms of human activity, including agriculture, residential, commercial, industrial, and infrastructure such as roads and other types of transportation. Each of these land transformations has impacted, to varying degrees, the local climatology, hydrology, geology, and biota that predate human settlement. It is essential that we document, to the best of our ability, the nature of land transformations and the consequences to the existing environment. The focus in the UEM project since its inception has been on rapid urbanization. Rapid urbanization is occurring in hundreds of cities worldwide as population increases and people migrate from rural communities to urban centers in search of employment and a better quality of life. The unintended consequences of rapid urbanization have the potential to cause serious harm to the environment, to human life, and to the resulting built environment because rapid development constrains and rushes decision making. Such rapid decision making can result in poor planning, ineffective policies, and decisions that harm the environment and the quality of human life. Slower, more thought-out, decision making could result in more favorable outcomes. The harm to the environment includes poor air quality, soil erosion, polluted rivers and aquifers, and loss of wildlife habitat. Human life is then threatened because of increased potential for disease spreading, human conflict, environmental hazards, and diminished quality of life. The built environment is potentially threatened when cities are built in areas that can be impacted by events such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, fires, and landslides. Our goals include assessing the threat of such events on cities and the people living there.
Document ID
Document Type
Book Chapter
Stefanov, William L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Wentz, Elizabeth A. (Arizona State Univ. AZ, United States)
Brazel, Anthony (Arizona State Univ. AZ, United States)
Netzband, Maik (Leipzig Univ. Germany)
Moeller, Matthias (Bamberg Univ. Germany)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2009
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits