This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Growth of Alabama Urban Areas and Its Impact on Changing Environmental Dynamics




Rahman, Mahjabin

Type of Degree



Geology and Geography


Urbanization plays a key role in modifying land cover and has widespread impact on the environment. Atlanta has always been the focus of urban studies in south-eastern United States. Little attention is given to urban areas smaller than Atlanta yet growing at an alarming rate. Keeping this in view the focus of this study is on the eight cities of Alabama which have encountered greater than 15 percent population increase between 1982 and 2010 and two large ones which have lost population. The main objectives are 1) To determine the expansion of urban built-up areas of the ten cities over time (1982-2010); 2) To examine temporal trends in temperature, precipitation, and air pollution for the study areas (1980-2010) and understand the impact of urban built-up area on each; and 3) To project future urban growth scenario (2040) for selective five cities using Cellular Automata (CA) Markov model. Results revealed that there has been immense expansion of urban built-up areas from1982 to 2010 due to population increase. Every study area chosen there is an increasing trend in temperature and precipitation pattern. Air quality has improvement in each city though expected otherwise. Regression results revealed that variation in temperature, precipitation and PM 2.5 can be explained by urban built-up expansion. The future growth model exposed that urban growth will take place along the transportation routes mainly. The outcome of this research will help scientific planning of cities in Alabama as well as implementing on other mid-sized cities globally.