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  • Nov 2013

    Urban Green Indicator

    A new indicator for green spaces in cities

    In the Urban Green Indicator research project, information about the urban green space is combined with information about urban density. A detailed spatial indicator describes the green versus the grey areas in a city. This project is a collaboration between the SPINlab at the VU University Amsterdam and Geodan.

    Areas with numerous trees are seen as being healthier and more beautiful.The reduction in the number of woodlands and trees directly influences the quality of city life. That is because trees reduce air pollution and also help to lower the temperature within the city (the ‘heat island effect’). This means that trees help to save the energy that is required for cooling homes. Urban density will lead to a reduction in the number of trees in the city.

    The indicator can be used for various purposes, for example to assess which areas are more susceptible to the ‘urban heat island’ effect. The indicator can also be used to perform an objective comparison of quality of life between various parts of a city and between cities. This is important information for decisions about urban designs and developments.

    How does it work?

    The indicator defines the ratio between volumes of trees and buildings. These volumes are determined by using very accurate 3D models of trees and 3D models of buildings. This provides an overview of the ‘greenness’ or ‘greyness’ of areas.

    Unique attributes

    • The Urban Green Indicator provides an insight into the ‘greenness’ or ‘greyness’ of an area and is calculated from accurate 3D models and not from 2D data.
    • The vulnerability of various areas and cities is mapped out, providing transparency of the urban heat island effect.
    • As well as providing an insight into the current situation, the indicator can also be used to calculate future designs, for example, to reduce energy consumption through preventative actions.

    In the scientific article ‘Between Green and Grey’ you can read more about the Urban Green Indicator.

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