We propose a methodology for defining urban markets based on builtup landcover classified from daytime satellite imagery. Compared to markets defined using minimum thresholds for nighttime light intensity, daytime imagery identify an order of magnitude more markets, capture more of India’s urban population, are more realistically jagged in shape, and reveal more variation in the spatial distribution of economic activity. We conclude that daytime satellite data are a promising source for the study of urban forms.


Baragwanath, Kathryn, Ran Goldblatt, Gordon Hanson, and Amit K. Khandelwal. 2021. "Detecting urban markets with satellite imagery: An application to India." Journal of Urban Economics 125. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jue.2019.05.004.