Researchers report that Manchester’s green infrastructure keeps city cool



Heat Absorption Within Urban Areas

“SHEFFIELD is cooler than Manchester – it's a fact!,” writes Polly Rippon. “It's something we've all suspected for a while but now it's been backed up by science.”

According to Rippon, researchers on the Sustainable Cities: Options for Responding to Climate Change Impacts and Outcomes (SCORCHIO) project at the universities of Sheffield, Manchester, East Anglia and Newcastle have discovered Manchester's temperature is lower because it has so many trees and woodlands 'sucking' heat from the air.

Rippon quotes Professor Stephen Sharples from The University of Sheffield's School of Architecture: “Yes, it's true. Measurements by my colleague Dr Susan Lee at Manchester and others have suggested Sheffield's green infrastructure keeps the city cooler than Manchester.”

According to the writer, the phenomenon is described as 'heat absorption within urban areas'.


'Living Landscape' Ecological Corridors

The article also quotes Roy Mosley from Sheffield Wildlife Trust who described how the trust's new Living Don project would see three 'Living Landscape' ecological corridors created connecting into the River Don. The project is funded by Natural England's Biodiversity Action Fund.

“The climate is changing and, as rainfall intensity increases on land that drains freely, such as in urban areas, the frequency of flooding will increase,” he said.

“Our Living Don project is looking to address all of this by actively managing the land to reduce the amount of rain running off it and establish vegetation or features like ponds that will suck heat from the atmosphere and provide a cooling escape from hot temperatures.

“By creating ponds and wetlands and restoring bogs the land will be able to hold more water, preventing it from running into inhabited areas.

“Connecting land in this way also brings benefits to wildlife. Plants and animals will be able to move in response to the changing climate instead of dying out.”

The trust wants to establish corridors along the River Don, in the western valleys of the Loxley, Rivelin and Porter, and in the south Sheffield 'greenway'.



The story by Polly Rippon was published on December 29, 2009 by The Star, serving south Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. The Star newspaper is published by Sheffield Newspapers Ltd and serves the people of Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire.



The aim of the proposed research is to develop tools for analysis of adaptation options in urban areas, with a particular emphasis on heat and human comfort in the built environment. It will do so by addressing the following objectives:

  1. To develop a statistical climate simulator for urban areas that can be used for impact and adaptation studies, taking account of both “greenhouse” climate change and the additional influence of the urban landscape and direct heating.
  2. To model typical buildings and their surroundings in order to develop a new, readily usable heat and human comfort vulnerability index that accounts for the effects of building construction, form and layout.
  3. To estimate heat emissions from buildings, together with a set of energy-related air pollutant and greenhouse gas end user emission budgets in order to understand the implications of different building adaptation options.
  4. To develop GIS-based decision support tools for exploration of adaptation options for urban planning and design.
  5. To demonstrate the methods and tools developed in each work package through in depth case studies, working in partnership with practicing planners and designers.

Work on the project began in March 2007 and research will be ongoing until early 2010.


Posted December 2009