Changing rate of urban creep and urban expansion over time and its impact upon the hydrologic response of a catchment

Joseph Mcdonnell*, Davide Motta

*Corresponding author for this work

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Most previous quantitative research conducted on urban creep and urban expansion has focused on small areas, short time periods, case studies with fairly uniform housing stock and demographic makeup, and the characterisation of urban creep and expansion exclusively in terms of impervious area changes without quantification of the consequential hydrological impact, i.e., increase in surface runoff volume and peak flows in a catchment. This study, using satellite imagery, catchment characteristics data, geographic information system and hydrologic modelling, presents, for the first time, a long-term analysis of urban creep and expansion. The case study is the Ouseburn catchment in Newcastle upon Tyne, a wide-ranging catchment made up of rural, suburban and urban areas, over a period of seven decades. The rate of increase of impervious surfaces is found not to be constant in time; the significant impact of this variation on the catchment's hydrologic response is quantified. This has overall caused a substantial flow volume increase in the Ouseburn over the study period, e.g. 48% for a 1 in 5 years rainfall event. The conclusions obtained are likely representative of many large towns and cities across the United Kingdom and the methodology presented can be easily replicated in other study areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-397
Number of pages15
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number1
Early online date20 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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