Keywords: smart growth, environmental indicators, remote sensing, land use classification, urban growth analysis, watershed management, environmental protection, fragmented forests, impervious surfaces, environmental impact, satellite imagery, airborne photography, change detection analysis, land use guidelines, community planning, zoning, development policy
Environmental indicator assessment for smart growth
Two of the major environmental indicators evaluated in this study are changes in fragmented forests and increase in impervious surfaces. Both of these indicators have important implications for adverse environmental impact in the county. Satellite imagery and airborne photography were used to collect information on ground characteristics for these two indicators. Change detection analysis of the digital sensor data was conducted over selected time intervals to determine land characteristic changes throughout the county. Study results showed significant changes in the increase in impervious surfaces with annual increases of over 2,230 acres or just over six acres per day between 2000 and 2001. The data and analysis resulting from this study were used by Loudoun County to assist in the development of land use guidelines, community planning, zoning, and development policy.