The UK’s top 10 greenest cities

Lucy Purdy

New maps show how much green space there is in the UK’s ten most populated cities

Some cities in the UK are three times greener than others. New images from mapping company Esri UK show that Edinburgh has the highest percentage of green space with 49 per cent, followed by Glasgow with 32 per cent, then Bristol at 29 per cent green space.

Greater London comes in at number 5, with 23 per cent of green space, shown by the bright green sections on the map.

The company used satellite images and mapping software to determine where the green space or vegetation was in each city. Experts used the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to calculate the percentage of green space in each city. The index uses the visible and near-infrared bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to assess whether land mass contains live green vegetation or not.

Often used to monitor drought, predict farming output or to help predict hazardous fire zones, the NDVI is used for global vegetation monitoring because it helps compensate for changing illumination conditions, surface slope, aspect and other unrelated factors.

1.
Edinburgh
49.2% green space

 

2.
Glasgow
32% green space

 

3.
Bristol
29% green space

 

4.
Birmingham
24.6% green space

 

5.
Greater London
23% green space

 

6.
Sheffield
22.1% green space


7.
Leeds
21.7% green space


8.
Manchester
20.4% green space


9.
Bradford
18.4% green space


10.
Liverpool
16.4% green space

All maps by Esri UK


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  • Robert

    This is a great overview, but it misses the fine detail of how accessible green space is to people in different cities. A measure like “what percentage of the population lives within a 5-min walk of green space” would help to clarify this.

  • Robert

    In the map of Edinburgh, for instance, the green space includes large areas on the edges of the city that may not be easily accessible to the population.

  • Steve

    These aren’t the Uk’s top 10 greenest cities but the UK’s 10 most populous cities ranked by how much green space they have.

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  • John Jennings

    That’s a good point, Robert. Edinburgh’s New Town also contains a number of private gardens that are only accessible to people with a key! That said, I live in Leith but am within walking distance of three good, well-sized parks and lots of other green areas including the innocent railway route for walking and cycling. I think it is a fairly accurate representation.

  • John Jennings

    I don’t think that can be true. The population of Bradford is less than 300,000 making it smaller than Cardiff, Nottingham, Leicester, Newcastle off the top of my head… I’m sure there are many more!

  • Steve

    Well, I guess it depends how you define the city, but Bradford is one of the 10 largest cities in the UK according to this list:
    http://www.ukcities.co.uk/populations/

  • Scott Williams

    That’s a pretty limited list – Northampton, although not a city officially, had a population of 692,000 at the last census.

  • Steve

    It’s a list of cities – that’s why places like Northampton aren’t included.

  • Steve
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