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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(2), 12; doi:10.3390/ijgi5020012

Assessing the Distribution of Urban Green Spaces and its Anisotropic Cooling Distance on Urban Heat Island Pattern in Baotou, China

1
College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China
2
College of Resources and Environment, Baotou Teachers’ College, Baotou 014030, China
3
Institute of Human Settlement, Liaoning Normal University, Dalian 116029, China
4
College of Environment and Resources, Dalian Nationalities University, Dalian 116600, China
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wolfgang Kainz
Received: 29 December 2015 / Accepted: 28 January 2016 / Published: 6 February 2016
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Abstract

An essential part of urban natural systems, urban green spaces play a crucial role in mitigating the urban heat island effect (UHI). The UHI effect refers to the phenomenon where the temperature within a city is higher than that of the surrounding rural areas. The effects of the spatial composition and configuration of urban green spaces on urban land surface temperature (LST) have recently been documented. However, few studies have examined the effects of the directionality and distribution of green spaces on LST. In this study, we used a landscape index to describe the change in pattern of heat island intensity for the city of Baotou, China. We then used a semi-variable function and nearest neighbor algorithm to analyze the cooling effects of green spaces. We found that: (1) the cooling distance of an urban green space was not only influenced by its size, vegetation cover, and shape, but also showed anisotropy. In general, the larger the area of the urban green space and the higher the value of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI; a measure of plant photosynthetic activity), the larger the cooling distance within a certain threshold. Green spaces with more regular shapes displayed higher LST mitigation; however, the cooling distance was directional, and cooling effects depended on the semi-major axis and semi-minor axis of the green space. (2) The distribution of the urban green space within the landscape played a key role in mitigating the UHI effect. Within a certain area, the cooling effect of green spaces that are evenly distributed was greater than that which was associated with either green spaces that were large in area or where greens spaces were aggregated in the landscape. Therefore, within urban areas, where space is limited, urban planning should account for green spaces that are relatively scattered and evenly distributed to maximize cooling effects. The results of this study have key implications for sustainable urban planning and development; to mitigate urban heat island effects it is important to not only increase canopy cover or the size of urban green spaces, but also to optimize their spatial configuration. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban green space; cooling effects; urban heat island pattern; Baotou City urban green space; cooling effects; urban heat island pattern; Baotou City
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Bao, T.; Li, X.; Zhang, J.; Zhang, Y.; Tian, S. Assessing the Distribution of Urban Green Spaces and its Anisotropic Cooling Distance on Urban Heat Island Pattern in Baotou, China. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 12.

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