Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Characterizing the fabric of the urban environment: A case study of
Salt Lake City, Utah
- Author(s): Akbari, Hashem
- Rose, L. Shea
- et al.
Urban fabric data are needed in order to estimate the impact of light-colored surfaces (roofs and pavements) and urban vegetation (trees, grass, shrubs) on the meteorology and air quality of a city, and to design effective implementation programs. In this report, we discuss the result of a semi-automatic Monte-Carlo statistical approach used to develop data on surface-type distribution and city-fabric makeup (percentage of various surface-types) using aerial color orthophotography. The digital aerial photographs for Salt Lake City covered a total of about 34 km2 (13 mi2). At 0.50-m resolution, there were approximately 1.4 x 108 pixels of data. Four major land-use types were examined: 1) commercial, 2) industrial, 3) educational, and 4) residential. On average, for the areas studied, vegetation covers about 46 percent of the area (ranging 44-51 percent), roofs cover about 21 percent (ranging 15-24 percent), and paved surfaces about 26 percent (ranging 21-28 percent). For the most part, trees shade streets, parking lots, grass, and sidewalks. In most non-residential areas, paved surfaces cover 46-66 percent of the area. In residential areas, on average, paved surfaces cover about 32 percent of the area. Land-use/land-cover (LU/LC) data from the United States Geological Survey were used to extrapolate these results from neighborhood scales to metropolitan Salt Lake City. In an area of roughly 560 km2, defining most of metropolitan Salt Lake City, over 60 percent is residential. The total roof area is about 110 km2, and the total paved surface area (roads, parking areas, sidewalks) covers about 170 km2. The total vegetated area covers about 230 km2.