Analysis of urban growth and sprawl from remote sensing data: Case of Fez, Morocco

Abdelkader El Garouani, David J. Mulla, Said El Garouani, Joseph Knight

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81 Scopus citations


Fez is the most ancient of the imperial cities of Morocco. In Fez the rate of population growth has been spectacular in recent times (484,300 inhabitants in 1982 and 1,129,768 in 2014). The accelerated rate of population growth has generated a large urban sprawl in all its forms and serious environmental problems. In this research, we have analyzed the relationship between urbanization and land use changes and their impact on cityscape in Fez and the importance of the increase in impervious surface areas. Satellite imageries and census data have been used to identify different patterns of land use change and growth of the city for the period 1984–2013. Classification and analysis of the satellite imageries were performed using Erdas imagine and ArcGIS Software. Urban sprawl in Fez was assessed over 29 years (1984–2013). The overall accuracy of land cover change maps, generated from post-classification change detection methods and evaluated using several approaches, ranged from 78% to 87%. The maps showed that between 1984 and 2013 the amount of urban or developed land increased by about 121%, while rural cover by agriculture and forest decreased respectively by 11% and 3%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Built Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Gulf Organisation for Research and Development


  • Fez
  • GIS
  • Morocco
  • Remote sensing
  • Urban expansion


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