Doctoral defence: Najmeh Mozaffaree Pour “Urban expansion in Estonia: monitoring, analysis, and modeling”

On 22 August at 10:15 Najmeh Mozaffaree Pour will defend her doctoral thesis “Urban expansion in Estonia: monitoring, analysis, and modeling” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Geoinformatics).

Supervisor:
Professor Tõnu Oja, University of Tartu

Opponent:
Professor Henning Sten Hansen, Aalborg University (Denmark)

Summary
Urban expansion is characterized by the low–density, spatially discontinued, and scattered development of urban-related constructions beyond the city boundaries. Since urban expansion changes the agricultural and forest lands, and slight changes in urban areas can affect biodiversity and landscape on a regional scale in the long-term, spatiotemporal monitoring of urban expansion and modeling of the future are essential to provide insights into the long-term trends and consequences. In Estonia, after the regaining independence in 1991, the Land Reform Act was passed, and the transfer of “land” from the state to private ownership began. Since then, Estonia has experienced the decentralization of residential areas affecting the transformation of agricultural and industrial regions around Tallinn, changes in people's lifestyles, and the settling of wealthy people in single-family houses in the suburbs of Tallinn, Tartu, and Pärnu. During this period, Estonia's population has declined dramatically by 15.31%. Therefore, this dissertation aims to "monitor, analyze and model Estonian urban expansion over the last 30 years and simulate its future" using many modeling approaches including logistic regression, multi-layer perceptron neural networks, cellular automata, Markov chain Analysis, multi-criteria evaluation, and analytic hierarchy process. The thesis comprises four original research articles that studied urban expansion in Estonia. So far, this is the first comprehensive study of modeling Estonian urban expansion utilizing various sets of remotely sensed data, driving forces and predictors, and modeling approaches. The scattering patterns of new constructions are expected to continue as the infilling form, proximate to main cities and existing residential areas and taking advantage of main roads in future.

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