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Northwest Missouri State University

Library Home » Electronic Theses » Geographic Information Science » Christopher S. Park

Cellular Automata and Urban Growth: A Case Study in the Western Shore Region of the Chesapeake Bay

Author: Christopher S. Park
M.S. in Geographic Information Science
Department of Geology and Geography
November 2011
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The Chesapeake Bay is one of our nation's natural treasures. In recent decades, the bay has been under siege by overfishing, extremely high nitrogen and phosphorous levels from stream runoff and encroachment by development of the vital wetlands that act like a sponge to regulate the water level and chemistry in the bay and its tributaries. Growth in the Chesapeake Bay region is unlikely to stop in the future with the large metropolitan presence in the area and key economic and government centers that feed suburban sprawl. This thesis seeks to better understand urban growth in this region by utilizing a computerized growth model known as the SLEUTH urban growth model. The model uses existing historical growth data to predict growth into the future. The results of this model, when visualized by census tract, provide a picture of slower but sustained growth by type in the western shore region of the bay. In addition, I combined the model output with census tract areas from the 2007 census, which in turn helps to visualize where the focus should be for emphasizing smart growth policies in the future.