Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geography and Environmental Resources

First Advisor

Wang, Guangxing


The rapid expansion of urban areas as a result of population growth and economic prosperity is causing land use and land cover (LULC) changes in cities all over the world. Kampala, Uganda, is no exception to this trend. Currently, Kampala’s population stands at 1.9 million people, and this number is expected to rise in the next coming years. Consequently, a large population will burden the already fragile ecosystems that characterize the urban landscape. The aim of this study was to derive the spatial patterns of urbanization as well as identify drivers of urbanization in Kampala using geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing technologies. I used multi-temporal Landsat images (1995, 2010, and 2015) and produced classification maps using Artificial Neural Network (ANN) and Spectral Mixture Analysis (SMA). The results showed that there has been an overall expansion of urban areas at the expense of other LULC types especially in the Northern part of the city. There has been a significant reduction in subsistence agriculture and vegetation. The temporal period between 1995 and 2010 showed the highest conversion of subsistence agriculture and vegetation to urban areas. The overall urban expansion rate from 1995 to 2015 was 3.4 %. Using Markov simulation, I generated a LULC map for the year 2025 that showed a 15 % increase in urban areas. I analyzed various factors that I hypothesized drove urbanization. Population growth was the major driver of urbanization. Economic factors such as Gross Domestic Production (GDP) and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) also played a significant role in the increment of urban areas in Kampala. Other factors such as distance to roads, distance to disturbance and policy have also contributed to urban growth. The findings of this study provided decision makers as well as the public with reliable information about LULC changes and the factors influencing these changes.




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