Urban spatial expansion in the Quanzhou region of southeastern China has been accelerated over the past 20 years. This has caused land cover changes and, thus, has significant impacts on the local ecosystem and climate. To study the urban expansion and heat island dynamics of the region over the past 20 years, multitemporal Landsat TM images of 1987, 1996, and 2006 were used. The estimation of the urban expansion was assisted by the index-based built-up index (IBI) through enhancing built-up land features in the images. The urban-heat-island (UHI) effect was assessed using the urban-heat-island ratio index (URI). Multitemporal analysis indicates that the great increase in urban area has resulted in the development of UHIs in the region. Regression statistics reveal that built-up land has a positive exponential relationship with land surface temperature (LST). Therefore, the increase in built-up land percentage can exponentially accelerate the rise of LST.