Urban Expansion Observatory

Mahatma Education Society is jointly developing an Urban Expansion Observatory in conjunction with New York University Urbanization Project. The center is developed jointly with Pillai Institute of Engineering and Pillai College of Architecture¬†and is located in the picturesque Pillai College Campus is New Panvel, Maharashtra India. The work done here aims to measure the quality of expansion in urban areas from 1990 – 2010 as part of NYU’s work on Monitoring Global Expansion. The Observatory is being established to undertake the digitization of high resolution satellite imagery, in order to measure the quality of urban expansion in the fringe areas of 200 global cities. The analysis relies on a new and sophisticated sampling methodology developed by New York University Urbanization Project. Using the high-resolution satellite imagery of Bing and Google Earth, a random set of 10-hectare locales in the expansion areas of cities is generated (areas developed between 1990 and 2013). In each city, average measures for five metrics are obtained. They are

  1. The share of land in arterial roads and access to arterial roads;
  2. The share of land in streets and the distribution of street widths;
  3. The share of land in residential areas in different stages of housing sector evolution (atomistic housing, informal land subdivisions, formal land subdivisions, and housing projects);
  4. Average block size and the density of street intersections; and
  5. Plot dimensions in land subdivisions.


Figure 1: Map of the world showing the division into the eight world regions and the global sample of 200 cities.