Predicting green space coverage at the small area level for the UK
Two land use datasets were used to create our green space measure for the whole UK:
The Generalised Land Use Database (GLUD, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, 2001) provided percentage green space per ward in England. GLUD was derived from the high resolution Master Map product available from the Ordnance Survey (OS). OS Master Map vector data is captured at a scale of 1:1250, hence the GLUD estimates included all vegetated areas larger than 5 m2 in area (with the exception of domestic gardens), regardless of their accessibility (public or private). As very small green spaces are included in the GLUD dataset it gave us an indication of the overall ‘green ambience’ or ‘greenness’ of each ward.
The Coordination of Information on the Environment (CORINE) land cover dataset was also obtained (EEA, 2000), as this had UK-wide coverage. CORINE is a decennially-released land cover inventory of remotely-sensed satellite imagery spanning the whole of Europe. Raster pixels (100 m2) from remotely-sensed satellite imagery were classified into one of 44 land cover categories (e.g., green urban areas, continuous urban fabric, pasture, water bodies). CORINE identifies each land cover type through areas considered to be relatively homogeneous, at the expense of smaller areas that are not clearly distinguishable from surrounding units or do not encompass a significant area of land. Whilst CORINE has a relatively sensitive pixel resolution, the operational and output requirements of such a vast database meant that the smallest area of green space mapped in the UK was about 1 hectare. This means that CORINE is sensitive only to larger green spaces such as parks. Smaller spaces that may contribute towards the overall ambient ‘greenness’ of neighbourhoods were not included.
CORINE (UK-wide coverage but only sensitive to larger spaces) and GLUD (more sensitive to total green space regardless of space size, but only English coverage) were used together to produce a data set estimating green space within all wards in the UK. We created a regression model in which GLUD percentage green space for each English ward was predicted by a combination of its CORINE composition (% green space, % urban fabric, % blue space) and population density (2001 census). The model predicted the GLUD values extremely well (R2 = 0.95, p < 0.001). Predicted green space values for all wards in the UK were then derived from the model. Due to its origins in the GLUD dataset our derived measure is an estimate of the percentage combined coverage of all green spaces larger than 5 m2 (excluding domestic gardens) for each ward in the UK. The measure has greater sensitivity to small green spaces than the CORINE dataset, with the benefit that green spaces smaller than 25 ha are included. Green spaces included therefore range from transport verges and neighbourhood greens, to parks, playing fields and woodlands.
The percentage green space coverage data for UK CAS wards (2001, n = 10,654) can be downloaded here. Feel free to use the data in your own research, but please cite the data as:
Richardson EA, Mitchell R. (2010) Gender differences in green space and health relationships in the United Kingdom. Social Science & Medicine 71: 568-575
The data are available here
Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. (2001). Generalised land use database statistics for England. London: ODPM Publications.
EEA. (2000). CORINE land cover 2000 [cited on June 12, 2009]. European Environment Agency. Available from http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/COR0-landcover.