Dr. Paul Brindley, senior author of the study from the University of Sheffield, said 70 percent of the global population is expected to live in cities by 2050.
“The fact that all five of the greenest town centers are in the south of England, while the five town centers with the least green attributes are in the north of the UK clearly underlines the urgent need to improve the greenness of the town centers at the bottom of the list, and for to ensure that local authorities take action to close the gap,” he said.
“While previous studies have measured greenness in wider suburban areas, our study focuses on urban centers where people of diverse backgrounds spend a lot of time working, recreation and shopping,” added co-author Dr. Jake Robinson from Flinders University.
“While people’s lives are enhanced by the greenery in their city, many cities have high tree density in the suburbs, but not in their city centres.
“Not surprisingly, the city centers with higher tree and vegetation cover, public green areas including parks and sports fields, have developed after more focus on urban planning rather than urban sprawl and industrial growth, and now have lower levels of deprivation in general, e.g. in human health metrics.”
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE.