4M: measurement, modelling, mapping and management

October 2008 – October 2012

Professor Kevin Lomas, Loughborough University


The research focuses on the city of Leicester:

  • Domestic Buildings: Investigating the nature of energy use and carbon emissions in homes.
  • Non-domestic buildings: These include the city’s offices, schools, factories and shops.
  • Transport: Looking at options for more environmentally-friendly options for transport
  • Biological sequestration: A study of gardens, parks and other green spaces and how these can be managed to ‘lock in’ CO2.

The project will calculate the carbon footprint of Leicester by:

  • Measuring the carbon released by traffic and the burning of fossil fuels and the rate at which vegetation captures carbon and lock it in the soil;
  • Modelling the effects on carbon budget of road layouts, traffic volumes and traffic speeds, the way we use energy in our buildings and the way we look after green spaces;
  • Mapping the sources and sinks of carbon for the whole city and comparing this with the social and economic well-being of its inhabitants; and
  • Management studies to investigate how to shrink the city’s carbon footprint.

The work will:

  • provide a methodology, data sources, models, data collection techniques, analysis methods and validation approaches that can use to benchmark and manage the carbon sources and sinks in any UK city; and
  • produce ways of representing carbon sources and sinks in a form suitable for visualisation and interpretation by policy makers, local authorities and the general public.

Journal papers

  • Davies, Z.G., Edmondson, J.L., Heimemeyer, A., Leake, J.R. & Gaston, K.J. (2011) Mapping an urban ecosystem service: quantifying above-ground carbon storage at a city-wide scale. Journal of Applied Ecology. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02021.x
  • Edmondson, J.L., Daviesm, Z.G., McCormack, S.A., Gaston, K.J. & Leake, J.R. (2011) Are soils in urban ecosystem compacted? A citywide analysis. Biology Letters. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0260 – in press.
  • Renforth, P., Edmondson, J.L., Leake, J.R., Gaston, K.J. & Manning, D.A.C. (2011) Designing a carbon capture function into urban soils. Urban Design and Planning, 164, 121–128.
  • Gaston, K.J., Davies, Z.G. & Edmondson, J.L. (2010) Urban environments and ecosystem functions. In: Gaston, K.J. (ed), Urban Ecology, pp.35-52. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Conference papers

  • Edmondson, J., Davies, Z.G., Leake, J.R. & Gaston, K.J. (2009) Carbon storage in UK urban greenspace – Leicester city as a case study. International Conference on Human Ecology, Manchester, UK.
  • Edmondson, J., Davies, Z.G., Leake, J.R. & Gaston, K.J. (2009) Carbon sequestration in UK urban greenspace – Leicester city as a case study. British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Hertfordshire, UK.