Forecasting urban futures: Evaluating global land use data sensitivity for regional growth simulation in the Ruhr Metropolitan Area




urban development, SLEUTH, OpenStreetMap, Ruhr Metropolitan Area, Global Human Settlement Layer, World Settlement Footprint


In recent years, numerous multitemporal global land use and land cover products have been published acting as valuable source for training spatially explicit geosimulation models forecasting urban growth. However, there is a notable gap in research that specifically addresses the sensitivity of models traing with those data sets when it comes to regional modeling purposes. Accordingly, the objectives of this study were to calibrate, validate, and employ global urban input datasets for the regional simulation of urban growth by the year 2030. The SLEUTH urban growth model, focused on the metropolitan area of the Ruhr, Germany, was calibrated using the Global Human Settlement Layer, World Settlement Footprint Evolution, historical OpenStreetMap data, and a Digital Land Cover Model for Germany. The goal was to compare the results in terms of accuracy, certainty, quantity, and allocation, particularly in urban areas susceptible to floods and heat. While all models achieved high accuracy levels concerning quantity and allocation, the extent of new settlements varied from 40.77 km2 to 477.91 km2. The models based on World Settlement Footprint and OpenStreetMap exhibited higher certainty and lower stochasticity. As the simulated urban growth increased, there was a corresponding rise in the likelihood of allocating new settlements in areas affected by natural hazards. While all models presented a similar relative portion of new settlement areas impacted by floods, variations emerged in terms of areas affected by unfavorable thermal conditions. This study underscored the potential use of historical OpenStreetMap data in training cellular automation for geosimulating future settlement growth. Furthermore, it highlighted the applicability of global Earth observation-based urban datasets for regional geosimulation and explored the impacts of diverse input data on the accuracy, certainty, quantity, and allocation performances in simulating future conditions.


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How to Cite

Rienow, A. (2024). Forecasting urban futures: Evaluating global land use data sensitivity for regional growth simulation in the Ruhr Metropolitan Area. ERDKUNDE, 78(1), 71–89.



Research Article