Seeing urban growth from the Landsat satellite system

Among other things, the Landsat satellites took pictures of big cities over time. Here are images of 11 of these big cities with roughly 30-40 years between each picture. A few thoughts:

1. I find several of the desert city images, such as Dubai and Las Vegas, to be most fascinating.

2. I’ve always liked overhead or satellite pictures of cities as I think it gives a helpful perspective where one can see the big picture rather than just the nearby area.

3. I’ve wondered several times how difficult it might have been for city dwellers who lived before the 19th century to truly adopt or imagine an overhead view of their city. Clearly, it could be done but it is one thing to imagine and another to see it from an airplane (or hot air balloon or dirigible) or really tall building.

4. I would be interested in spending some time with these images to see if there are discernible patterns. I assume the first thing people would notice is the expansion of development but I assume there are some other things in here such as important transportation corridors (highways and trains) and different kinds of development located in different places.

Bonus: here are some pairs/series of images from American locations.


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