“The fact that all five of the greenest city centres are in the south of England, whilst the five city centres with the least green attributes are in the north of Great Britain, clearly highlights the need to urgently improve the greenness of city centres at the bottom of the list, and to ensure that action is taken by local authorities to close the gap,” he said.

There’s no logic to that statement at all. As the research itself says, the North is largely industrial centres, the South not – that explains the difference.

But that there’s a difference doesn’t mean there’s an urgent need to do anything at all.

“While previous studies have measured greenness in broader suburban areas, our study focuses on city centres where people of diverse backgrounds spend much time at work, recreation and shopping,” added co-author Dr Jake Robinson from Flinders University.

“While people’s lives are enhanced by the greenness of their city, many cities have high tree densities in the suburban areas but not their urban centres.

“Not surprisingly, the urban centres with higher tree and vegetation cover, public green spaces 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, including in human health metrics.”

Ah, there’s the real point. We need more urban planning. Yes, of course we do. Can;t let the proles just live as they wish now, can we?

21 thoughts on “Erm”

  1. And? Are they suggesting we carpet bomb the Northern cities and plant trees on the cleared land? Actually, that sounds perfectly acceptable, as long we avoid the few bits of decent architecture.

    Sheffield might not be green, but it is right in the heart of some lovely landscape. You really don’t have to go far to find spaces far nicer than any park.

    Islington doesn’t look any greener than any other bit of London. In fact, on google maps, it looks a lot less green than Liverpool.

  2. Think of the enormous increase in senile old bastards clogging up the works if they kept us all alive Julia.

    Though I’d think that, with the flying cars, the vast increase in the accident rate if people like me were driving them’d reduce the population again.

    Indeed, when I think about it, I wonder whether the absence of flying cars isn’t due to social change and increased bureaucratisation leading to increased safety regulations. If you could pilot a light aircraft with as little training as you need to drive a car, the sky might be alive with autogyros. And the cities pock-marked with where they fell out of the sky.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    Is this why we don’t have flying cars and a cure for cancer yet? People spending time on this sort of ‘research’..?

    There’s far more important things to spend research money on. How can we plan for the future if we don’t know how many rainbows there will be:

    New research: Climate means 5% rainbows on average

    But some hotspots will see “severe rainbows decline”
    https://twitter.com/BjornLomborg/status/1595514754549825542

  4. His town planning model is fifty or more years out of date, before the mall, when Mum still used to take the pride into town with a folding pram to fit on the bus, to buy stuff at the department store. Now we have gasp remote working and online shopping. What are those human health metrics anyway? Finland is the happiest country on earth, with very high rates of suicide and alcoholism. Even among the Finnish themselves the men are renowned for melancholia and emotional unavailability, whatever TF that means. The Finns are happy because they have been told that they are happy. I would rather work and commute thereto and therefrom in attractive surroundings but am I alone in not missing the sight of a tree right outside my office window?

  5. I suspect they’ve fiddled this to get the answer they wanted. Half of North Yorkshire is green but there are more towns than cities so it probably doesn’t count.

    I’ve also never heard of anyone moving South for the wide open spaces.

  6. I wondered why a paper on UK town centres was co-authored by a chap from n Adelaide university. Turns out the paper was originally published in 2020 when Jake was still a mere Mr PhD student at Sheffield.

  7. The Cornish Peninsula has far more tropical trees than elsewhere in Britain. It’s a scandal!

    It ‘clearly highlights’ the need to plant more tropical trees in places like Whitley Bay, Scunthorpe and Barnsley for example, particularly since climate change has turned Britain into a tropical island.

  8. Since Britain’s municipal authorities seem hell-bent on discouraging anyone from doing business in the cities they’ve been entrusted with, what does it matter how many trees they have? Nobody’s going there anyway.

    (Seriously: I live about a mile-and-a-half from the centre of Glasgow. It’s less than 30 minutes’ walk away. Until The Madness started, it was a rare week when I wasn’t “in town” at least once. I think I’ve been down there maybe three times this year. And it’s like a ghost town. When did BHS collapse? 2016? Their Sauchiehall Street store – almost half a city block in size – is still lying empty. And now Marks & Sparks is too. Maybe we should sort that kind of thing out before we start worrying about trees.)

  9. Hang about! Didn’t I read here yesterday that there were too many trees? I ordered a wood burning stove on the strength of that link in order to do my bit so thanks a lot.

  10. In their madness, Sheffield council have banned *BUSES* from going into the city centre!

    Ok, not quite. What they’ve done is close many city-centre roads to all traffic, including the main bus routes through town. On top of that they’ve set up a Clean Air Zone in the city centre that applies to “buses, taxis and HGVs”. All the bus routes are now forced to circulate *around* the city centre. What this means in practise is what used to be a quick 15-minute bus ride into town and get off outside the Town Hall right in the centre of the shopping district, outside HMV, outside the bank, outside WHSmith, outside the City Hall, is now a 30-minute bus ride to the bus station on the other side of town, and then a 20-minute walk up the hill.

    When I was working in Sheffield over the summer, when my car was being MOT’d it took me an hour by bus through the city centre and out the other side to get to work, compared to a 15 minute car journey.

  11. Re Sheffield – over 10% consists of woodland much of which is ancient woodland such as Ecclesall Wood, and of course it’s a few minutes into the Peak District. And Newcastle has the Town Moor which is bigger than Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath combined and reaches the City centre.

  12. “While previous studies have measured greenness in broader suburban areas, our study focuses on city centres where people of diverse backgrounds spend much time at work, recreation and shopping,”

    Ah. ‘people of diverse backgrounds’.

    WTF???

  13. Pendantry – but do people at the Tel think Middlesbrough is the wrong spelling.

    Middlesborough is a small village near Peterbrough (even my browser tells me they’re incorrect spellings). Like many of the other places ‘named and shamed’, Middlesbrough has gorgeous countryside (e.g. Roseberry Topping), within walking distance.

  14. If you really want to see how to screw up a city centre a good example is Newport (the Welsh one) which has been pummelled by the council for well over a decade.
    With free parking in Cwmbran and Cardiff just down the road it’s a wonder anyone bothers at all with the city centre

  15. For the two British cities I know best: if Cambridge is in their top five and Edinburgh is nowhere, then their results are an artefact of their definitions and methods.

    Such problems arise whenever you compare cities because you either stick to local authority boundaries – which may be meaningless for your purposes – or you invent your own boundaries which gives you a dangerous ability to fudge your results.

    Frexample, if I considered Scotland: I like Aberdeen and Edinburgh, I dislike Glasgow, I don’t know Dundee, and I reject the idea that any of the other towns are “cities” at all. I’ll bet I could cook up a set of criteria that would prove my feelings to be objective truth. Pah!

  16. Is this some oppression perpetuate by Westminster that would be ended by Scottish independence and giving the SNP the complete and total power *they already have*?

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