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Extending the SLEUTH model to integrate habitat quality into urban growth simulation


This study aims to support sustainable urban and environmental planning by using urban growth simulation models, in which environmental quality is employed as one of the inputs. We proposed an extended SLEUTH urban growth model (UGM) for the regions threatened by environmental quality degradation caused by uncontrolled urban expansion. In this model, habitat quality is assessed by the InVEST model and is used to represent environmental quality, which is utilized in urban growth simulation. The habitat quality map is used to replace the slope layer as input for the SLEUTH model's urban growth simulation for cities where relatively flat topography makes this layer of minimal explanatory value. The extended SLEUTH UGM was calibrated using data for Changzhou city, China in 1990, 2000, 2010, and 2014. The best value of the Optimal SLEUTH Metric (OSM) was calculated for both the standard SLEUTH UGM and the extended SLEUTH UGM independently. The OSM value for the latter model was much higher than that of the former model, which indicated that the extended model provided a better explanation of urban growth in the study area. The calibrated extended SLEUTH UGM was applied to predict growth in Changzhou city from 2014 to 2030. The result showed that the urban area is expected to expand about 626 km2 by 2030. Comparison with the prediction result by using standard SLEUTH UGM showed that the area with high habitat quality could be reserved and the urban expansion could be limited by using our model. The findings demonstrate that the extended SLEUTH UGM could be a valuable tool for sustainable urban and environmental planning and management in developing regions where environmental protection should be considered as one of the major land-use objectives in their rapid urbanization process.

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