The study compared the greenness of tree cover, vegetation and the presence of parks – factors that have been linked with positive outcomes for health, the economy, education and crime.

Researchers from Flinders University, University of Sheffield, University of Melbourne and Environmental Protection Authority Victoria evaluated urban centres with larger populations of more than 100,000 people to create a metric of urban ecosystems, vegetation and human health, social equity and biodiversity.

Five cities in southern England were ranked highest: Exeter, Islington (in London), Bristol, Bournemouth and Cambridge. Five in the previously industrial north had the lowest: Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield, Middlesbrough and Glasgow at the bottom. 

“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,” said author Dr Jake Robinson...