Urban growth is a key indicator of economic development. At the same time, haphazard urban growth creates serious socioeconomic, environmental and urban land management problems. In this context, understanding the process of urban landscape change is important for guiding the sustainable growth of urban areas. This study analyzes the urban land changes during 1990–2018 in two metropolitan cities of Gandaki basin: Pokhara and Bharatpur. Landsat satellite images were analyzed using supervised classification methods. The results revealed that the built-up area has increased significantly by 300% in Pokhara and by nearly 500% in the Bharatpur during the past 28 years. Population growth, migration from surrounding areas due to urban facilities and the easy lifestyle in cities were found to be major determinants of urban growth within the study area. In addition, the changing urban definition and expansion of municipal boundaries are key factors for rapid urban growth. Both cities are likely to grow in the future as they are both located in areas that encompass the high levels of commercial activity and modern service facilities. The haphazard urban growth should be minimized through planning and policies for sustainable urban development.
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