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The population of China has been urbanizing at a rapid rate. In 1978, less than 20% of China’s population lived in cities. In 2015, more than 55% of the population of China was urban, and that rate is climbing. By 2030, the country’s urbanization is projected to reach 70%. That will be about 1 billion people living in cities in China.

The Shiyan Municipality, Hubei Province, presents an interesting example of urbanization. The population of Shiyan increased from 333,089 in 1990, to 724,016 in 2010, and to 879,000 in 2021. To accommodate the increased urbanization in the Shiyan region, as in other regions of China, engineers have found an innovative way to create more land for building—flattening mountaintops.

This Landsat series of images shows the rapid development occurring on leveled land around Shiyan, along with changes seen to the Danjiangkou Reservoir nearby.


Every picture has a story to tell
Apr. 17, 1987, Landsat 5 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
Apr. 17, 1987, Landsat 5 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
Apr. 12, 2000, Landsat 7 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
May 17, 2004, Landsat 5 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
May 23, 2006, Landsat 5 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
May 2, 2010, Landsat 5 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
Apr. 14, 2015, Landsat 8 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
Apr. 16, 2016, Landsat 8 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
Apr. 30, 2021, Landsat 8 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China
May 14, 2023, Landsat 9 (path/row 125/37) — Shiyan, China


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