Student information

MSc thesis subject: In-depth urban sustainability mapping: case study for typical cities with different urbanization processes

Urbanization has achieved a planetary reach. This urbanization process poses a wide range of environmental and social problems, and further challenges to the realization of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Urban in-depth sustainability assessment in general lacks sufficient indicators. One important reason is that many urban SDG indicators such as inadequate housing and cropland loss require fine scale remote sensing data or data that need to be sourced locally[1]. This is also why many urban SDG indicators are classified as Tier II (data are not regularly produced by countries) and Tier III (no internationally established methodology or standards).

To make up for this information deficit, alternative and innovative sources of data, especially derived from Earth Observation, are required to support urban SDG reporting at high spatial resolution and repeatedly over time[1-2]. Currently, satellite products with higher resolution (10m–50m) provide more opportunities for in-depth studies, such as Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL). In this research, we will combine fine scale satellite products with Regional Yearbook to assess urban in-depth sustainability.


  • To explore urban sustainability status and its historical evolution within typical cities, by focusing on in-depth / Tier III indicators.
  • To analyse the difference between urban sustainability dynamics in cities or countries of different urbanization processes, such as Europe and China.


  • [1] Melchiorri, M., Pesaresi, M., Florczyk, A.J., Corbane, C. and Kemper, T., 2019. Principles and Applications of the Global Human Settlement Layer as Baseline for the Land Use Efficiency Indicator—SDG 11.3. 1. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 8(2), p.96.
  • [2] Fritz, S., See, L., Carlson, T., Haklay, M.M., Oliver, J.L., Fraisl, D., Mondardini, R., Brocklehurst, M., Shanley, L.A., Schade, S. and Wehn, U., 2019. Citizen science and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Nature Sustainability, 2(10), pp.922-930.


  • Interest in big data analysis, geo-computation using GEE and R

Theme(s): Sensing & measuring, Human – space interaction