Chester County, Pennsylvania Land Change Animation
Chester County, Pennsylvania has always been close-in hinterland of the city of Philadelphia. As the metropolitan area expanded, Chester County became one of the suburban frontiers of Philadelphia, with developed land cover concentrated along transportation corridors that were first railroad lines and later U.S. and state highways, such as U.S. 30 and more recently I-76 (the Pennsylvania Turnpike).
Chester County’s population in 1980 was approximately 317,000 residents, but that had climbed to an estimated 519,000 people in 2017 - a 64 percent increase in 37 years.
This animated image using the annual Land Change Monitoring, Assessment, and Projection primary land cover looping from 1985 through 2016 shows the growth of the red-colored developed land-cover class across time, as it replaces former farm and forest land.
Even with substantial growth in developed land cover, most of western Chester County remained in agricultural or tree-cover land use. Farming remains an important land-use in the county, and local governments have worked to keep some of the least developed areas in such use despite the increased urbanization of metropolitan Philadelphia.