Examining the satellite-detected urban land use spatial patterns using multidimensional fractal dimension indices

Hao Wu, Yurong Sun, Wen Zhong Shi, Xiaoling Chen, Dongjie Fu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the spatial patterns of urban land use at both the macro and the micro levels is a central issue in global change studies. Due to the nonlinear features associated with land use spatial patterns, it is currently necessary to provide some distinct analysis methods to analyze them across a range of remote sensing imagery resolutions. The objective of our study is to quantify urban land use patterns from various perspectives using multidimensional fractal methods. Three commonly used fractal dimensions, i.e., the boundary dimension, the radius dimension, and the information entropy dimension, are introduced as the typical indices to examine the complexity, centrality and balance of land use spatial patterns, respectively. Moreover, a new lacunarity dimension for describing the degree of self-organization of urban land use at the macro level is presented. A cloud-free Landsat ETM+ image acquired on 17 September 2010 was used to extract land use information in Wuhan, China. The results show that there are significant linear relationships represented by good statistical fitness related to these four indices. The results indicate that rapid urbanization has substantially affected the urban landscape pattern, and different land use types show different spatial patterns in response. This analysis reveals that multiple fractal/nonfractal indices provides a more comprehensive understanding of the spatial heterogeneity of urban land use spatial patterns than any single fractal dimension index. These findings can help us to gain deeper insight into the complex spatial patterns of urban land use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5152-5172
Number of pages21
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2013


  • Fractal methods
  • Lacunarity dimension
  • Remote sensing imagery
  • Spatial pattern
  • Urban land use
  • Wuhan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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