Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Charles Emerson

Second Advisor

Lynne Heasley, Environmental Studies

Third Advisor

Gregory Veeck


Urbanization, Grand Traverse County


Grand Traverse County, MI has witnessed population growth in the past thirty years, largely because of its popularity as a tourist destination and “wilderness” area in Michigan and around the Great Lakes basin in general. Accordingly, there has been human development and urbanization in the county, particularly around its major community, Traverse City. This paper seeks to quantify that urbanization. This will be done by classification of Landsat 5 – TM imagery collected in 1984 and 2010, utilizing the Gaussian maximum likelihood supervised classification method. After this process, changes in proportions of the various land use types in the county will be calculated. Spatial examination of urban expansion helps to objectively analyze the effects of human population growth on the environment. Furthermore, it visibly shows the effect of human processes on a landscape. There is also analysis and some discussion of other shifts in land use areas, such as forests and agricultural land. Furthermore, this paper examines the environmental effects of urbanization and policy measures required to protect environmental integrity. The study did find an increase in urbanized land in the county (2% increase as a proportion of the entire county, corresponding to a 21% increase in urbanized land), but not to the great extent that was expected considering the growth in tourism.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Geography Commons