Urban vegetation and the environmental health of sixteen global cities

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Alex O. Sinykin (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Roy Stine

Abstract: Vegetation plays an important role in regulating the health of urban ecosystems (Sanders, 2004; Jim, 2004). Riparian zones, parks, nature reserves, and other forms of urban vegetation help minimize atmospheric and hydrologic pollution and reduce the urban heat island effect (Weng, 2003). In this study I used satellite imagery to classify and quantify vegetative cover for sixteen of the most populated cities on Earth. It was found that London England had the greatest percentage of urban vegetation with 53% while Karachi Pakistan had the least at 3.06%. The highest correlating physical variables with urban vegetation were year of origin (r² = -.602), population density (r²=.531) and latitude (r²=.215). Satellite imagery collected from NASA was analyzed to determine the percentage of vegetation cover in each of sixteen sample cities. The amount of vegetation recorded within the urban environments was dependent upon multiple variables. Climatic variables play a large role as habitat dictates vegetation cover. Physical independent variables including latitude, temperature, average annual rainfall, and elevation were tested for correlations with the dependent variable of urban vegetation. Further methods and analysis in this study include basic statistics, t-tests, and multiple step regression. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were utilized in this thesis to objectively measure vegetative and geographic variables within major global cities. Outside of physical variables, vegetation within the urban environment is largely determined by human decisions and behavior. Public planning, non-profit organizations, and private owners may have had more influence on the percentage of vegetation within urban environments than the restrictions of climatic variables. Further, the examination of physical and sociological variables in relation to urban vegetation is included in the discussion. The purpose of this thesis is to contribute to the academic field of geography specific to vegetation and environmental services in urban environments. Results may be a reference or guide to scholars, planners, developers, and residents of urban environments.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Architecture, Cities, Environment, Landscape, Urban, Vegetation
Urban ecology (Biology)
Urban ecology (Sociology)
Urban climatology
Urban plants
Urbanization $x Environmental aspects
City planning $x Environmental aspects
Cities and towns $x Growth $x Environmental aspects
Vegetation and climate

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