Land Use and Land Cover Changes in Kabul, Afghanistan Focusing on the Drivers Impacting Urban Dynamics during Five Decades 1973–2020

In Geomatics
Peer-reviewed Article
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This study delves into the patterns of urban expansion in Kabul, using Landsat and Sentinel
satellite imagery as primary tools for analysis. We classified land use and land cover (LULC) into
five distinct categories: water bodies, vegetation, barren land, barren rocky terrain, and buildings.
The necessary data processing and analysis was conducted using ERDAS Imagine v.2015 and ArcGIS
10.8 software. Our main objective was to scrutinize changes in LULC across five discrete decades.
Additionally, we traced the long-term evolution of built-up areas in Kabul from 1973 to 2020. The
classified satellite images revealed significant changes across all categories. For instance, the area of
built-up land reduced from 29.91% in 2013 to 23.84% in 2020, while barren land saw a decrease from
33.3% to 28.4% over the same period. Conversely, the proportion of barren rocky terrain exhibited
an increase from 22.89% in 2013 to 29.97% in 2020. Minor yet notable shifts were observed in the
categories of water bodies and vegetated land use. The percentage of water bodies shrank from 2.51%
in 2003 to 1.30% in 2013, and the extent of vegetated land use showed a decline from 13.61% in 2003
to 12.6% in 2013. Our study unveiled evolving land use patterns over time, with specific periods
recording an increase in barren land and a slight rise in vegetated areas. These findings underscored
the dynamic transformation of Kabul’s urban landscape over the years, with significant implications
for urban planning and sustainability.

Suraj Kumar