This article applies a multi-method approach to develop a better measurement of urbanization dynamics using remote and human sensing based on a GIS platform. The results demonstrate the benefits of bringing human and remote sensing sources together in a framework of hot spot analysis for a megacity such as Mexico City. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that human and remote sensing work well together in detecting the expansion of illegal urban settlements. Looking at the driving factors of illegal settlements, the existence of strong association between the expansion of illegal urban settlements and socioeconomic factors such as unemployment, provides some answers and reveals new questions. Illegal urban growth often leads to the loss of ecological areas in the urban frontiers, especially in areas where the urbanization potential is high. As a consequence, there are conflicts with legal settlers who dislike the illegal expansion. This approach can be extended to and replicated in new urbanizing areas, in particular in Africa and Asia.