Located in the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona, Tucson is one of the oldest continually inhabited areas of North America. There is evidence of settlements 3,000 years ago. A mission was established in the region in 1700, and a community developed within 75 years. Until 1853, Tucson was part of Mexico.
As with many western cities, Tucson was organized on a grid pattern. Historically, military bases, the University of Arizona, tourism, and transportation hubs provided the employment in the area. The population of the greater Tucson area has gone from approximately 600,000 in 1980 to over one million in 2011. The rapid growth in the past 30 years is due in part to the rapid growth of advanced technology firms which have located in the city.
Landsat 5 satellite images show the area and how the city has expanded from 1984. Growth has been largely in the eastern region as the mountains on the north, west, and south restrict development.
Landsat imagery is useful for city leaders and decision makers for monitoring rate and direction of growth, and for evaluating needed water and transportation resources.