Deconstructing density : Assessing the per capita influence on vegetation and impervious surface area in Corvallis, Oregon Public

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_projects/7s75dd098

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  • The density at which urban areas are developed has become a contentious issue, with advocates for compact cities in conflict with advocates for larger lots and suburban development. This research paper examines the associated impact of population density (grouped by residential zones) as measured by vegetation (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and impervious surface area (Iterative Self-Organizing Data Analysis Technique (ISODATA) unsupervised classification merged with City of Corvallis building data). This research was based on Quickbird imagery, City of Corvallis GIS spatial data, and 2000 Census population data. The findings of the research demonstrate that a clear difference between residential zones was observed based on vegetation and impervious surface area data. A regression analysis showed a reciprocal relationship between both NDVI impact and impervious surface area versus population density. This data suggest that with each doubling of population density the associated per person impact on NDVI is estimated to decrease 50.4% (+1- 1 .5%). Likewise, with each doubling of population density, it is estimated that the associated amount of impervious surface area per person decreases 41% (+/- 3%). At a population density of 10 people/acre, over 90% of the impact on vegetation has occurred, whereas with impervious surface area, densities of 40 people/acre resulted in the same threshold of impact. These findings may be used to help in the planning of the Corvallis landscape in order to mitigate impacts on the urban ecosystem.
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