This study analyses land-use/land-cover (LULC) changes in Adana city, Turkey, using satellite data of 1984 and 2000. Study of the expansion of the city over adjacent agricultural fields and semi-natural areas was the major focus. The satellite images were classified using supervised classification prior to comparison of LULC on two different dates. The change map was produced by pixel-to-pixel comparison of the classified images. Urban and built-up area increased by a factor of 2.07 during the 16 years; about 30 per cent on agricultural land and 70 per cent on previously semi-natural land. Permanent immigration and urban development strategies were the main driving forces. Some policy perspectives are also given. Copyright (C) 2003 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.