On the association between land system architecture and land surface temperatures: Evidence from a Desert Metropolis—Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A

Xiaoxiao Li, Yiannis Kamarianakis, Yun Ouyang, Billie Turner, Anthony Brazel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The relationship between the characteristics of the urban land system and land surface temperature (LST) has received increasing attention in urban heat island and sustainability research, especially for desert cities. This research generally employs medium or coarser spatial resolution data and primarily focuses on the effects of a few classes of land-cover composition and pattern at the neighborhood or larger level using regression models. This study explores the effects of land system architecture—composition and configuration, both pattern and shape, of fine-grain land-cover classes—on LST of single family residential parcels in the Phoenix, Arizona (southwestern USA) metropolitan area. A 1 m resolution land-cover map is used to calculate land architecture metrics at the parcel level, and 6.8 m resolution MODIS/ASTER data are employed to retrieve LST. Linear mixed-effects models quantify the impacts of land configuration on LST at the parcel scale, controlling for the effects of land composition and neighborhood characteristics. Results indicate that parcel-level land-cover composition has the strongest association with daytime and nighttime LST, but the configuration of this cover, foremost compactness and concentration, also affects LST, with different associations between land architecture and LST at nighttime and daytime. Given information on land system architecture at the parcel level, additional information based on geographic and socioeconomic variables does not improve the generalization capability of the statistical models. The results point the way towards parcel-level land-cover design that helps to mitigate the urban heat island effect for warm desert cities, although tradeoffs with other sustainability indicators must be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-120
Number of pages14
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017



  • Land surface temperature
  • Land system architecture
  • Linear mixed-effects models
  • NAIP
  • Parcel scale
  • Urban heat island effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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