Environmental Modeling and Assessment, 2023 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.Population growth causes spatial expansion in urban areas and harms the ecological assets on the periphery of cities. Identifying the growth trends in an urban area is critical to formulate predictive planning techniques, define manageable urban processes, guide the investments in the city, and increase the quality of life while ensuring a balance between the natural and the built environments. It is a planning tool required to determine the dynamics that affect the direction of expansion in an urban area and to identify potential growth areas with a holistic approach, detect any future problems, and find solutions to these problems. The scope of this study is to build a model that predicts the potential urban expansion areas. The model was developed based on several main criteria: (1) proximity, (2) natural environment, (3) built-up environment, and (4) plan decisions. The analytical hierarchy process (AHP) was used to identify the weight of each criterion and related sub-criteria. The results of the study were used to detect the most probable urban development areas that will serve the projected population for 2040 for the city of Saray. This study aims to predict the growth direction of the Saray urban area and identify the areas that are hard-pressed by development depending on the current dynamics in the city. Thus, a practical urban growth estimation model is proposed for future studies in planning. The results of the model show that the city of Saray tends to sustain its mono-centric and compact urban form in 2040.