City of Bellingham Land Use Change 1898-1997

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Land Use Change In Bellingham 1898-1997
Paul Anderson, Adam Bailey, Amy Hamlin, Parker-Leigh Juby, Nicholas LaRue
ABSTRACT:
Bellingham, Washington has experienced dramatic land
use change over time. At the turn of the 19th century,
forestry, mining and fishing were the dominant forms of
land use. In the early 19th century population growth led
to more intensive use of these dominate resource
extraction industries. Pre-World War II through the
subsequent baby boom saw a steady increase in
urbanization, leading to development and high-density
urban sections. This pattern of urbanization has continued
and today high-density urban areas dominate Bellingham.
This poster shows spatial-temporal land use changes in
Bellingham using five categories: Water, Forest,
Agriculture, Low-Density Urban, and High-Density
Urban. A grid consisting of 1000-foot squares was placed
over the current Bellingham city limits. If a grid’s land
use consisted of more than 50% of a specific land use, the
grid was assigned that land use code. Low-density urban
was defined as 5 buildings or less, high-density urban was
classified as greater than 5 buildings.
Results:
1898
The results of our analysis can be seen by examining the
maps and air photos to the left and the table below.
Land Use Percentages within
Bellingham’s City Limits
1916
1943
1898
1916
1943
1966
1984
1997
Water
10.02
5.46
9.44
9.34
9.70
3.47
Forest
90.48
76.06
45.55
25.92
17.34
7.67
Agriculture
N/A
N/A
9.53
5.43
5.82
12.00
LowDensity
N/A
18.48
12.97
20.54
16.50
13.00
HighDensity
N/A
N/A
22.51
38.77
50.59
63.57
Discussion:
The maps, aerial photos, and table on this
poster show how land use has changed over
time in Bellingham. Increased development
and urbanization reinforce why sustainable
planning is important to minimize the negative
effects associated with urbanization.
1966
View of downtown from Sehome Hill 1929 (Courtesy of Whatcom Museum).
Introduction:
The purpose of this project was to discover how land use
has changed within the current city limits of Bellingham,
Washington from 1898 to the present. Base maps and
aerial photographs with a time interval of approximately
twenty years (1898, 1916, 1943, 1966, 1984 and 1997)
were scanned to analyze land use change. The analysis
put the data into five classifications: high and lowdensity urban, agriculture, forest, and water. The main
focus of the project is on the series of maps showing the
land use/land cover change over time.
1984
A view Bellingham looking East towards Mt. Baker
Acknowledgements:
Methods:
Base maps from 1898 and 1916 as well as air photographs
from 1943, 1966, 1984, and 1997 were scanned, georectified, mosaiced, and assigned land use classification
codes. The land use codes were then assigned different
colors to differentiate between the different codes. The
land use classification codes were high and low density
urban, agriculture, forest, and water.
1997
We would like to thank Kerry Lageuex for all his
patience and help throughout the duration of our
project. We would also like to thank Janet Collins for
all of her knowledge and help with the background
research and data acquisition. Thanks to Stefan
Freelan and Steve Walker for the help with Arc/Info.
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