Comparative studies on mapping and examining the urban land processes over a relatively long timeframe in megacities of China are rare. We used multi-temporal Landsat MSS, TM, ETM+ and OLI satellite images of 1980,1990,1995,2000,2005,2010 and 2015 integrated with Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to analyze the spatiotemporal patterns of urbanization in Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. We further used landscape metrics to investigate the landscape responses to urban expansion.
Results showed that all of six megacities experienced rapid urbanization process in the past four decades and the general trends of urban growth types transformed from leapfrogging to edge-expansion with increasingly fragmented and complex landscape . Our study provides insights for future efforts on sustainable urban expansion policy of megacities in China.