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Mapping urban green infrastructure : a novel landscape-based approach to incorporating land-use and land-cover in the mapping of human-dominated systems

Dennis, M; Barlow, D; Cavan, G; Cook, P; Gilchrist, A; Handley, J; James, P; Thompson, J; Tzoulas, K; Wheater, P; Lindley, S


M Dennis

D Barlow

G Cavan

A Gilchrist

J Handley

J Thompson

K Tzoulas

P Wheater

S Lindley


Common approaches to mapping green infrastructure in urbanized landscapes invariably focus on measures of land-use or land-cover and associated functional or physical traits. However, such one-dimensional perspectives do not accurately capture the character and complexity of the landscapes in which urban inhabitants live. The new approach presented in this paper demonstrates how open-source, high spatial and temporal resolution data with global coverage can be used to measure and represent the landscape qualities of urban environments. Through going beyond simple metrics of quantity, such as percentage green and blue cover it is now possible to explore the extent to which landscape quality helps to unpick the mixed evidence presented in the literature on the benefits of urban nature to human well-being. Here we present a landscape approach, employing remote sensing, GIS and data reduction techniques, to map urban green infrastructure elements in a large UK city-region. Comparison with existing urban datasets demonstrates considerable improvement in terms of coverage and thematic detail. The characterisation of landscapes, using census tracts as spatial units, and subsequent exploration of associations with social-ecological attributes highlights the further detail which can be uncovered with the approach. For example, eight urban landscape types identified for the case study city exhibited associations with distinct socio-economic conditions accountable not only to quantities but also qualities of green and blue space. The identification of individual landscape features through simultaneous measures of land-use and land cover demonstrated unique and significant associations between the former and indicators of human health and ecological condition. The approach may therefore provide a promising basis for developing further insight into the processes and characteristics which affect human health and wellbeing in urban areas, both in the UK and beyond.


Dennis, M., Barlow, D., Cavan, G., Cook, P., Gilchrist, A., Handley, J., …Lindley, S. (2018). Mapping urban green infrastructure : a novel landscape-based approach to incorporating land-use and land-cover in the mapping of human-dominated systems. Land, 7(1), 17.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 22, 2018
Online Publication Date Jan 25, 2018
Publication Date Jan 25, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 22, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 25, 2018
Journal Land
Electronic ISSN 2073-445X
Publisher MDPI
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 17
Publisher URL
Related Public URLs
Additional Information Projects : Green Infrastructure and the Health and wellbeing 587 Influences on an Ageing Population (GHIA) project (2016-2019)
Grant Number: NE/N013530/1