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Forecasting the Growth and Urban Development Patterns in Bojnourd City
1 , * 2
1  Master's degree, City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning of Guilan University
2  Doctoral Researcher at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
Academic Editor: Salvador Garcia-Ayllon


Following its selection as the administrative and political centre of North Khorasan Province in 2005, the city of Bojnourd experienced rapid population growth and demographic changes. Along with rural-to-urban migration, the concentration of administrative, military, tourism, cultural, and educational centres created new urban development needs. Among the key challenges in the city's development are the physical expansion of the city beyond its previous boundaries, the transformation of agricultural lands into urban areas, and suburban construction. This study used remote sensing data and employed a descriptive-analytical approach as well as artificial neural networks via cellular automata. The study was based on satellite images of the Bojnourd Plain from 2011 and 2021. Data from remote sensing archives were used to analyze the overall spatial-temporal land use patterns.

To achieve the research objectives, multispectral Landsat 7 and Landsat 8 images for the Bojnourd area (path 161, row 034) were downloaded. The output maps were compared with Google Earth maps to increase the credibility of the results. Furthermore, the classification for 2011 achieved an overall accuracy of 86% and a Kappa coefficient of 81, while the classification for 2021 achieved an overall accuracy of 88% and a Kappa coefficient of 85. The main findings include calculating and estimating land use changes and the share of each land use in the study's base years, modeling and predicting land use changes for 2031 using potential transfer maps for land uses and establishing a Markov chain with eight influential factors: slope, elevation, distance from faults, agricultural lands, main roads, main power network, built-up areas, and land price.

The findings corroborate the anticipated development of Bojnourd city for 2031, with a rise in built-up areas and urban land use and a reduction in agricultural and pasture land usage. Furthermore, in terms of geographical structure, the expansion of built-up regions is most visible on three fronts: Bojnourd-Esfarayen, Bojnourd-Mashhad, and Bojnourd-Ashkhaneh. The administration and planning of this procedure are anticipated to become more successful by recognizing the growth and physical development trend of Bojnourd city.

Keywords: land use change, artificial neural network, Markov chain, modeling, Bojnord.