Characterising the urban environment of UK cities and towns: A template for landscape planning

Susannah E. Gill, John F. Handley, A. Roland Ennos, Stephan Pauleit, Nicolas Theuray, Sarah J. Lindley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Scopus citations


Urban areas are faced with distinctive, or 'systemic', issues arising from their unique social, environmental and economic characteristics. Examples include an altered energy exchange and hydrology which contribute to the urban heat island and an enhanced surface runoff; due, in part, to an altered surface cover, with more built and fewer vegetated surfaces. Landscape planning needs to protect urban ecosystem services and to enable this, an urban characterisation which is meaningful for these properties is useful. This paper presents such a characterisation for Greater Manchester which uses urban morphology type mapping and surface cover analysis. The results show that residential areas cover almost half of the 'urbanised' area of Greater Manchester, with medium density residential accounting for 37%. It is within this category, which represents the urban matrix, that 32% of all the evapotranspiring (i.e. vegetated and water) surfaces are found. This will include private gardens and street trees which are often not represented by traditional mapping approaches. The methodology presented here is potentially useful for strategic urban planning in relation to climate change adaptation and for green infrastructure planning in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-222
Number of pages13
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number3
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate change adaptation
  • Green infrastructure
  • Land use
  • Surface cover
  • Urban characterisation
  • Urban morphology type


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterising the urban environment of UK cities and towns: A template for landscape planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this