Imperial College London

Mr Richard N Belcher

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Research Postgraduate



r.belcher19 Website




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Publication Type

10 results found

Tan JKN, Belcher RN, Tan HTW, Menz S, Schroepfer Tet al., 2021, The urban heat island mitigation potential of vegetation depends on local surface type and shade, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, Vol: 62, ISSN: 1618-8667

Urban areas face multiple environmental challenges that interact with climate change, including the urban heat island (UHI) effect. Plants can be a nature-based solution for UHI-effect mitigation, alongside various artificial materials, but their performance is only commonly compared to concrete or asphalt. Given shade's ubiquity in the urban environment, it also has a strong potential to interact with and change urban spaces' thermal performances but is rarely included in plant UHI effect-mitigation analyses. We completed an experiment to record the UHI effect-mitigation potential of 10 plant species (turf grasses, shrubs and climber/creeper plants) and eight materials (including three with high albedo) with and without shade on a rooftop in tropical Singapore across multiple sunny days in May and June 2018. We explained the infrared thermography-recorded surface temperatures of plants and materials with a surface type–time interaction in a linear regression model. Our model predicted that, without shade, except for concrete coated with white paint or infrared-reflecting white paint, plants' exterior surfaces were cooler than all artificial materials by at least ∼11 °C at 13:30 (the peak surface temperature of artificial materials). Unshaded plant species had comparable surface temperatures to shaded artificial materials and were marginally cooler than unshaded high-albedo materials. Shading caused no significant reduction of temperatures for nine of the 10 plant species studied. Our results suggest that high-albedo materials and plants can mitigate the UHI effect, either on the ground or as sources of shade to offset heat gain, and that planting up shaded surfaces would generate marginal additional cooling. Our findings should be integrated into broader trade-off analyses on the economic and health value of replacing unshaded artificial materials with plants, as UHI-effect mitigation is one of many ecosystem services provided by plants.

Journal article

Richards DR, Fung TK, Belcher RN, Edwards PJet al., 2020, Differential air temperature cooling performance of urban vegetation types in the tropics, URBAN FORESTRY & URBAN GREENING, Vol: 50, ISSN: 1618-8667

Journal article

Richards DR, Belcher RN, 2019, Global changes in urban vegetation cover, Remote Sensing, Vol: 12, Pages: 23-23, ISSN: 2072-4292

Urban vegetation provides many ecosystem services that make cities more liveable for people. As the world continues to urbanise, the vegetation cover in urban areas is changing rapidly. Here we use Google Earth Engine to map vegetation cover in all urban areas larger than 15 km2 in 2000 and 2015, which covered 390,000 km2 and 490,000 km2 respectively. In 2015, urban vegetation covered a substantial area, equivalent to the size of Belarus. Proportional vegetation cover was highly variable, and declined in most urban areas between 2000 and 2015. Declines in proportional vegetated cover were particularly common in the Global South. Conversely, proportional vegetation cover increased in some urban areas in eastern North America and parts of Europe. Most urban areas that increased in vegetation cover also increased in size, suggesting that the observed net increases were driven by the capture of rural ecosystems through low-density suburban sprawl. Far fewer urban areas achieved increases in vegetation cover while remaining similar in size, although this trend occurred in some regions with shrinking populations or economies. Maintaining and expanding urban vegetation cover alongside future urbanisation will be critical for the well-being of the five billion people expected to live in urban areas by 2030.

Journal article

Belcher R, Suen E, Menz S, Schroepfer Tet al., 2019, Shared landscapes increase condominium unit selling price in a high-density city, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol: 192, Pages: 103644-103644, ISSN: 0169-2046

Journal article

Suen E, Belcher R, Menz S, Schroepfer Tet al., 2019, Estimating Leaf Area Index of Urban Trees from Digital Zenith Cover Photography: A Framework on its Application for Urban Practitioners, IFLA World Congress 2018

Conference paper

Belcher R, Sadanandan KR, Goh ER, Chan JY, Menz S, Schroepfer Tet al., 2019, Vegetation on and around large-scale buildings positively influences native tropical bird abundance and bird species richness, URBAN ECOSYSTEMS, Vol: 22, Pages: 213-225, ISSN: 1083-8155

Journal article

Schroepfer T, Menz S, Yingying J, Belcher R, Erdolu E, Kaushal M, Pilsudski T, Raju P, Suen E, Tan JKNet al., 2019, Dense and Green Building Typologies: Architecture as Urban Ecosystem, Future Cities Laboratory Indicia 02, Publisher: Lars Muller Publishers, ISBN: 9783037785997

This second volume in the 'Future Cities Laboratory Indicia' series focuses on the tools, methods, and approaches needed for urban research.

Book chapter

Tan JKN, Belcher R, Menz S, Schroepfer Tet al., 2018, Comparing the surface temperatures of greenery and artificial materials: A field study of green infrastructures in Singapore, IFLA World Congress 2018

Conference paper

Belcher R, Chisholm RA, 2018, Tropical Vegetation and Residential Property Value: A Hedonic Pricing Analysis in Singapore, ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS, Vol: 149, Pages: 149-159, ISSN: 0921-8009

Journal article

Belcher R, Fornasari L, Menz S, Schroepfer Tet al., 2018, Birds use of vegetated and non-vegetated high-density buildings—a case study of Milan, Journal of Urban Ecology, Vol: 4

Journal article

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