The coastal zone of China, which creates more than half of the total GNP, is in the forefront of reforms and opening up programs. The Yangtze River Delta, Pearl River Delta and Bohai Bay are three major economic zones along the coast which have been open to foreign investments. Many well-known coastal cities are located in these three economic zones, for example Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xiamen, Fuzhou, Yantai, Tianjin, and Dalian. The economy of these areas is developing with an astonishing speed. However, the geographical environment of the coastal zone is complex and natural disasters occur frequently. The major natural disasters are earthquakes, storms, tides, icebergs, red tides,and inverted flow of sea water; which cause tremendous losses both socially and economically and limit the sustainable development of these areas. Therefore, monitoring and analysis of the coastal zone urbanization and the dynamic change of the environment will provide valuable information for urban planning, environmental protection, and economic development.
Spatial information technologies such as remote sensing (RS), geographic information systems (GIS), and global positioning systems (GPS) have been widely used in land resource surveying, environmental monitoring, and natural hazard forecasting and prediction. My project will analyze, based on time-serial remote sensing data over 3 decades, the urbanization trend and environmental impact in two of the three economic zones: the Taihu and Shanghai vicinity in the Yantze River Delta, and the Shenzhen economic special district in the Pearl River Delta.