Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:40 AM
MALIGNANT LAND USE/COVER EXPANSION IN HUMAN COMMUNITIES
While there are various pathognomonic characteristics of malignant processes, the most important of these is growth without restraint. Some exceptions have occurred with the occasional disappearance of human communities, but the general trend over the past several thousand years has been for human communities to persist over millennia and to continue expanding in land use by conversion of surrounding areas of natural or cultivated ecosystems to urban space. There is no evidence or example of successful conscious restraint of such growth in any part of the globe. Modern GIS and satellite imagery provide tools for the documentation of urban expansion that accompanies population growth within communities. High rates of population growth and physical expansion of urban space have been heavily documented on all continents. Brasilia, founded in 1956, expanded for decades at rates of up to 13% per year. Serial satellite photographs of the Brazilian Amazon show systematic replacement of pristine rain forest by the fishbone pattern of deforestation and incipient urbanization. Houston, the only major CMSA in the United States without zoning or land use restrictions, has expanded its area at the rate of up to 5% per year since 1974 accompanied by population growth rates of up to 8% per year. The Washington/Baltimore urban agglomeration is expanding at the rate of 22 square kilometers per year. This phenomenon has been documented from Uzbekistan to Belize. As the global urban population reaches 50%, the process of urban expansion appears to be inexorable, uncontrolled, and uncontrollable.