Green Spaces Trends in the City of Port Elizabeth from 1990 to 2000 using Remote Sensing

Document Type: Original Research Paper


1 University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Environmental Sciences, Pietermaritzburg Campus, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa

2 South African National Space Agency, Space Operations, P.O. Box 484, Silverton, 0127, Pretoria, South Africa


Given the critical role played by urban green spaces and the emergence of remote sensing as a
valuable natural resource management tool, this study sought to identify trends in green spaces within the
context of South Africa’s transition period (1990 - 2000). Using the city of Port Elizabeth as a case study, three
sets of Landsat - 5 Thematic Mapper images (1990, 1995 and 2000) were geo-processed, classified into
vegetation density categories and verified using respective aerial photographs. There was a steady decline in
areas covered by Very sparse vegetation, Sparse vegetation and Dense vegetation classes. However, areas
covered by Very dense vegetation showed a steady increase during the study period. Using remote sensing
applications, this study provides an insight into trends in green spaces in the city of Port Elizabeth during the
transition period. This study further shows the importance of remote sensing as a mapping tool that can be
used to provide information for physical, social and ecological planning to achieve urban socio-ecological
sustainability in rapidly changing urban environments.