Land use change is recognized as one of the most important factors leading to environmental change. This study analyzed the dynamics of urban land use/cover in landscape fragmentation in Manas River Watershed during 1990-2006, including the centre Town of Manas County, City of Shihezi and part of regimental farm of Division 8. The study area is located in the mid-west of the North Xinjiang Economic Zone with well-developed transportation infrastructure. With increasingly intensifying social and economic development, the local ecological environment has changed dramatically. This study area is one of the regions with the most developed economy in Xinjiang and represents a miniature of the economic development in north Xinjiang. The spatial pattern and spatial heterogeneity are analyzed by employing and computing landscape metric variables including urban landscape diversity index, contagion index and fractal dimension. The results of this study will improve our understanding about urban expansion in the arid zone, where the development constraints in terms of natural and environmental resources greatly vary from those faced by the cities in the coastal region of China.