The application and effectiveness of remote sensing and geographical information systems for mapping and monitoring land use and land cover changes for development planning in UMnini Trust Traditional Council, eThekwini Municipality.
Ngwabe, Mpumelelo Mthembeni.
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In the second half of the 21st century, developing countries experienced rapid population growth, which tended to settle in peri-urban areas of the cities because of limited spaces in the urban core areas and high urban land values. This movement into the outskirts of the cities has promoted peri-urban densification or urban sprawl/growth where the population become desperate for land and resides in close proximity to railway and road corridors, and environmentally sensitive areas etc. This rapid periurban densification decreased the availability of agricultural potential land and created a huge demand for social services delivery from municipalities. Therefore, municipalities need current and accurate information about trends of growth and development in a specific geographic area to determine the amount of social services need to be provided, which is significant for their development plans. Moreover, for accurate and up-to-date information and trends of growth analysis, South African municipalities rely on the techniques and tools such as aerial photographs and sample surveys, which are often inadequate to provide real time and accurate information on a regular basis, as these techniques collect this kind of information on a yearly basis while the population grows on a daily basis in developing worlds. The aim of this study was to assess the application and effectiveness of remote sensing (RS) and geographical information systems (GIS) for mapping and monitoring land use and land cover changes (LULCC) trends for development planning in uMnini Trust traditional council between 2001 and 2016. This time period has been chosen to align the study with the 15 years after eThekwini Metropolitan municipality was created in 2000, it was important to monitor and map the extent of growth in peri-urban areas of the metropolitan, which are the result of urban sprawl where people are situated in close proximity to urban core areas in search for economic opportunities. This study was guided by objectives, which are as follows; to determine the current LULCC planning and assessment processes used by municipality in uMnini Trust traditional council, to critically analyse the extent to which remote sensing and GIS have been used for sustainable land use planning and management; to identify different land use and land cover types found in uMnini Trust traditional council between 2001 and 2016, and analyse/categorise the changes that has occurred during the study period, in order to be able to analyse the rate and magnitude at which the peri-urban densification has been occurring in the study area which has a direct influence over the required infrastructure and social services. Lastly, to analyse challenges and constraints of using remote sensing and GIS for mapping and monitoring land use and land cover changes in uMnini Trust traditional council. This study adopted mixed (qualitative and quantitative) research methods. This combination of methods was employed in this study in order to provide a better understanding of research problems than either approach. Cognitive fit theory, sustainable development theory, and unified theory of acceptance and use of technology model were the theoretical bases for this study. Rapid peri-urban densification has contributed to land use changes, and also often led to rapid consumption of green or environmentally sensitive areas. Unregulated growth and development in urban areas has also resulted in the saturation of urban core areas, which increasing demand for land for development at the outskirts of the urban areas. Cognitive fit theory states that the use of geospatial technologies such as remote sensing and GIS, when the user possess relevant skills and expertise this yield good results that could help to come up with possible solution to assist in decision making process. Sustainable development theory advocates that there should be a development to satisfy the needs for the present generation, however, it must balance triple bottom line which include the social, economic, and environmental protection in ensuring that the needs of the future generations will be met. The unified theory of acceptance and technology model emerged because there was a need for the establishment of advanced technological innovations and application that have positive impacts on human and work life. This encouraged the organizations and governments to adopt the use of information technology in solving complex spatial related problems such as incompatible land uses. The results of this study revealed that there has been a gradual decline of agricultural potential areas in uMnini Trust traditional council within the study period. Rapid peri-urban densification has contributed and continues to contribute to rapid LULCC in the study area. It has been noted that this growth has implications on the provision of infrastructure and service delivery, as these people are increasing on a weekly or monthly basis which make it difficult for the municiplaity to have real time and accurate information about rate, trend, and magnitude of LULCC for their development plans. Integration of remote sensing and GIS in this study has demonstrated that this approach could be effective in providing LULCC in short period of time, which has been the shortcoming of the traditional planning tools.