Urban Growth in Kansas City

Using Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 8 OLI to Monitor Urban Growth in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri

By: Nick Vega

ES 775, May 2017


Kansas City is separated into Kansas and Missouri with the Missouri River being the dividing line for the states and portions of the city. The bigger portion of the city is in Missouri but there are many suburbs that help with the overall area in both states. Kansas City is located in the northeast portion of Kansas or the western portion of Missouri on the Missouri river. It has a total area of 440 square miles without the suburbs helping the total area. Technically, Kansas City itself is located in the inner part of the city with suburbs surrounding it, but many people believe these suburbs are considered part of the city as well; just depends on the person. Some of these suburbs are Shawnee, Overland Park, Olathe, Liberty, Independence, and Lee's Summit to name a few of the major ones. Kansas City has a population of 302,846 in 1990, 589,159 in 2000, and 606,671 in 2010, and has steadily increased to an estimated 620,436 in 2014; again this does not include the suburb populations around the city. Kansas City is home to professional sports teams like the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals, and Sporting Kansas City with multiple universities and colleges and Kansas City International Airport a short drive away.


To obtain the satellite images that show urban growth in Kansas City, Landsat 5 TM and Landsat 8 OLI data were collected from the Global Visualization View (GLOVIS) which is controlled by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Images were collected from 1990, 2000, and 2010 from Landsat 5 TM and 2016 from Landsat 8 OLI. Idrisi Selva was used to perform all tasks in order to show urban growth. The window module was used to give a closer and detailed view of the city of Kansas City and surrounding suburbs compared to the whole tile square. But two tile squares were mosaicked together due to the edge of the tile slightly cut off some of the suburbs in the area. To compare images from each year, bands 1, 5, and 7 were utilized for Landsat 5 TM and bands 2, 6, and 7 for Landsat 8 OLI to create false-color composites that show Kansas City, surrounding vegetated areas, roads, and water bodies. These false-color composites help to give visual representation of growth, more methods were used to quantify the growth of the city. The cluster module was used in order to show cell values of the image. These cell values were then reclassified, with a value of 1 or 0 with 1 being the city and 0 being anything not related to the city, so that the cells with values showed Kansas City and suburbs surrounding the city, giving it a better representation. Once completed, a custom color palette was created to make the clustered images more visually appealing. Finally, the area of cells representing Kansas City was calculated for each year. The areas that were calculated for each year were then used to compare the growth of the city through the years.


In these false-color images, the year 1990 is on the left and the year 2000 in on the right. The urban areas are represented in a blueish color with some white certain areas, a darker blue color for the water bodies, and green/darker green as vegetation and agriculture fields. There is a distinct change in the southwest part of the city, in the Olathe and Overland Park area. There are other slight changes but the greatest is that area.

In these false-color images, the year is 2010 on the left and the year 2016 on the right. There isn't too much change but can still see the edges of the suburbs growing slightly. Olathe and Overland Park have grown and are now touching each other compared to them have some distance a part from each other in the 1990 false-color composite. But Gardner, southwest suburb of the image, seems to have the greatest change with new buildings and warehouses being built. If you are traveling on Interstate 35 going to Kansas City, you will see these massive warehouses.

These cluster composites, 1990 on the left and 2000 on the right, show the growth of urban centers in the city and surrounding suburbs. The blue in the cluster composites represent urban areas with the grey representing vegetation, agriculture, and everything not associated with urban areas. In the 1990 image, there was a total 245 square miles for urban areas; in the 2000 image, there was a total of 487 square miles.

In these cluster composites, 2010 is represented on the left and 2016 is represented on the right. Again, these images show the growth of urban centers as a blue color and everything else as a grey. In the 2010 image, there was a total of 504 square miles for urban areas; in the 2016 image there was a total of 372 square miles. Obviously, there is a massive difference between the square miles of 2010 and 2016. This is due to before the cluster reclass, the cluster images give values to everything and parts of the city may have the same value as parts of agriculture fields, which creates skewed results. So once the reclass happens and start giving values of either 1 or 0, it takes the whole band even if there is values outside the city. This is why all the cluster composites have random values of blue outside the city and suburb areas in random fields, this creates a skewed result in the square miles in all of them.



Overall, the false-color composites and cluster composites proved that there has been some major urban development in the Kansas City area. Since 1990, the population has increased by about 317,600 estimated individuals; to put this in perspective, 14 Emporia population sized groups have increased in the Kansas City area in 26 years. With population increasing, urban development occurs as well. More restaurants, entertainment centers, housing, hospitals, jobs etc. have been built to keep up with the growing population. Urban development has increased the overall size of the Kansas City and suburb areas as well. The image above shows the difference in 1990 as the "before" image and 2016 as the "after" image. Obviously, there is a massive difference and growth between both images. The suburbs of Overland Park, Olathe, Gardner, Lee's Summit, Liberty, and Independence are the the ones with the biggest growth. These suburbs have growth fast and have become areas for families to grow and prosper. In the end, Kansas City has grown into a wide range of stages in a person's life, a young adult who is starting their life may life in the downtown area to be close to work and entertainment and eventually will be able to move out into one of the suburbs to start a family and live a quieter lifestyle. But Kansas City has shown urban growth and as a prominent community to live in.


Earth Resources Observation and Science Center, World Wide Web Homepage URL: http://glovis.usgs.gov/. Date of Access: 5/1/2017

United States Census Bureau, World Wide Web Homepage URL: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/2938000,2036000,20. Date of Access: 5/4/2017