How These Effects Develop

Sometimes it is easy to see how urbanization shapes the environment, particularly in peripheral areas were large suburban developments may consume hundreds of acres per year. But the impacts of urbanization begin early. Sometimes, the period of initial urban settlement produces the most radical changes in watersheds as tracts of land are cleared for the first time. Encroachment continues long beyond initial settlement as an almost continuous process. These maps of the development of a piece of campus on the University of Colorado show how the area of impermeable surfaces increases through time. Please note that the red and grey stripes constitute both paved ground and buildings.

animation by Andreas von der Dunk

created 3/9/2002; last revised 5/1/2002 - Matt Kuhn & Andreas von der Dunk