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Hammer, Roger B.; Stewart, Susan I.; Winkler, Richelle L.; Radeloff, Volker C.; & Voss, Paul R. (2004). Characterizing Dynamic Spatial and Temporal Residential Density Patterns from 1940–1990 across the North Central United States. Landscape and Urban Planning, 69(2-3), 183-199.


The spatial deconcentration of population during the 20th century and the resulting expansion of human settlements has been a significant cause of anthropogenic landscape change in the United States and many other countries. In the seven-state North Central Region, as in other regions of the US, changing human settlement patterns are most prominent at the outlying fringe of metropolitan areas and in rural regions with attractive recreational and aesthetic amenities. This process of growth and change has profound implications for the ecology of the region that will require the reformulation of resource management policies. We use attribute clustering of both housing density and housing growth for each decade from 1940 to 1990 to illuminate the dynamic process of housing density change in the North Central Region. While cross-sectional housing density maps display the uniformity of residential density within urban, suburban, and rural areas, historic density clustering demonstrates the spatial variability of density trajectories in urban and suburban areas, and the relative stability and homogeneity of more rural density trajectories. Clusters based on housing growth, without regard to absolute density, reveal similarities between urban cores and rural areas, where in both cases, housing growth has been very slow in recent decades. We identify density/growth clusters with high potential for future growth, which are spatially clustered on the periphery of metropolitan areas, in smaller urban centers, and in recreational areas throughout the region.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Landscape and Urban Planning


Hammer, Roger B.
Stewart, Susan I.
Winkler, Richelle L.
Radeloff, Volker C.
Voss, Paul R.