Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies

First Advisor

Yong Lao

Second Advisor

Armando Arias


The use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) to explore, analyze, and interpret our environment is a relatively new technology with exciting new advances emerging each day. GIS can be used along with satellite imagery to detect changes on Earth’s surface (Delavar, 2015). With the human population growing rapidly, it has become very important to monitor when, where, and how we are changing the planet. Using the theory of land economics, coupled with land classification maps from 2001 and 2011, I will explain how cities are changing in the Salinas River Valley, a prime agricultural zone in central California. Are these cities expanding and are they consuming agricultural land? Are they becoming sprawled? There are questions that are vital to answer as we plan for the future of our cities and economies. Accommodating the growth of cities while preserving natural and agricultural land should be of central importance to local policymakers and leaders.