The purpose for studying exurbanization is to evaluate the spatial spread of metropolitan areas into their immediate hinterlands through remote sensing satellite imagery. This includes addressing scholar's inability to define exurbia, along with plausible reasons people move into exurbia. In addition, determination will include consideration on the possibility that exurbia has become an extension of America's growing and increasingly independent suburbia or; recognize that exurbia exists, but within various geographic locations. In return to the former, an analytical approach was taken to investigate scholar's inability to provide a definition to this phenomena; as well as inconsistent results on the push and pull factors behind people's desire to move further outward. Therefore, the need for remote sensing, GIS analysis that includes statistical implementation is necessary to determine the potential location of exurban developments. This includes three study areas, which are St. Louis, Twin Cities and Los Angeles. Each city were evaluated through 1990 and 2000 census data information and satellite imagery. The level of impervious verses non-impervious land area for selected census tracts were determined, as the main findings indicate a substantial increase of urban sprawl within St. Louis and Twin Cities. As for Los Angeles, this area maintained a level of compact urban development from 1990 and 2000 census tract data, satellite imagery and geospatial analysis. These findings indicate two different results: (1) Los Angeles has a high probability that exurbia is an extension to suburbia; (2) St. Louis and Twin Cities experienced substantial increase of urban sprawl that suggests the possibility of continued exurban existence.


Fei Yuan

Committee Member

Jose Lopez

Committee Member

Brenda Kayzar

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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