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This study examines the impact of spatial landscape configuration (e.g., clustered, dispersed) on land-surface temperatures (LST) over Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. We classified detailed land-cover types via

This study examines the impact of spatial landscape configuration (e.g., clustered, dispersed) on land-surface temperatures (LST) over Phoenix, Arizona, and Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. We classified detailed land-cover types via object-based image analysis (OBIA) using Geoeye-1 at 3-m resolution (Las Vegas) and QuickBird at 2.4-m resolution (Phoenix). Spatial autocorrelation (local Moran’s I ) was then used to test for spatial dependence and to determine how clustered or dispersed points were arranged. Next, we used Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data acquired over Phoenix (daytime on 10 June and nighttime on 17 October 2011) and Las Vegas (daytime on 6 July and nighttime on 27 August 2005) to examine day- and nighttime LST with regard to the spatial arrangement of anthropogenic and vegetation features. Local Moran’s I values of each land-cover type were spatially correlated to surface temperature. The spatial configuration of grass and trees shows strong negative correlations with LST, implying that clustered vegetation lowers surface temperatures more effectively. In contrast, clustered spatial arrangements of anthropogenic land-cover types, especially impervious surfaces and open soil, elevate LST. These findings suggest that city planners and managers should, where possible, incorporate clustered grass and trees to disperse unmanaged soil and paved surfaces, and fill open unmanaged soil with vegetation. Our findings are in line with national efforts to augment and strengthen green infrastructure, complete streets, parking management, and transit-oriented development practices, and reduce sprawling, unwalkable housing development.

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Myint, SW, et. al. (2015). Does the spatial arrangement of urban landscape matter? Examples of urban warming and cooling in Phoenix and Las Vegas. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, 1:4, 1-15. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/EHS14-0028.1

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