Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level





Jason A. Tullis

Committee Member

John C. Dixon

Second Committee Member

Kenneth L. Kvamme


Social sciences, Earth sciences, Erosion response units, Land use suitability, Medium-sized cities, Water erosion susceptibility


Urban areas constitute complex spatial entities where biophysical and socioeconomic environments interact through processes that determine the distribution of land use in the territory. Given Chile's variety of landscapes, water erosion, and mass movement, and rapid expansion of its medium-sized cities, straightforward techniques for assessment of land use suitability are essential. Through evaluation of water erosion susceptibility, it is possible to efficiently determine suitability of land use in medium-sized cities and their adjacent environments. The adaptation and application of the Erosion Response Units (ERU) concept (Märker et al., 2001) in the cities of Colina and Melipilla, Metropolitan Region of Santiago, enabled an improved understanding of the relationship among erosion and land use potential variables in urban environments. Since publicly available remote sensor and ancillary GIS data were incorporated, this approach has application beyond the cities studied. The results indicate that it is possible to assess the land use suitability of medium-sized urban areas based on water erosion susceptibility by using an integrated modeling framework. Thus, the highest degrees of land use suitability are associated with lowest degrees of erosion susceptibility.