Dr Paul Brindley

Dr Paul Brindley BSc. PhD.


Telephone: 0114 222 0615
Room 12.4, The Arts Tower

email: p.brindley@sheffield.ac.uk
Blog: sola-blog.com
Research Cluster: Creative Spatial Practices




My research involves being highly innovative and at the cutting edge of technological developments. This helps me facilitate landscape planning processes to better address the current challenges facing our landscapes.

Dr Paul brindley


My research focuses on understanding the interplay between landscapes and people through the use of digital data and GIS mapping (Geographic Information Science). My objective is to take a critical perspective in order to understand different interpretations of any set of spatial data. This involves developing innovative methodologies from data science (combining statistics and computer programming) and applying them within a landscape context.

As such I am interested in how landscapes are both presented and interpreted from digital representations. However, a critical perspective is required because we should always remember that models are merely simplifications of reality. In the words of statistician George Box, “All models are wrong but some are useful.”

Teaching responsibilities

LSC119 The Changing Landscape
Landscape Planning Toolkits
Rural Landscape Planning

GIS workshops for:
LSC5010 Urban Landscape Planning
Special Project
Landscape Planning

Research Interests

My research interests centre of the use of digital representations of landscape, at the planning scale. This frequently involves the use of Geographic Information Science (GIS) and statistics to address the many challenges facing our landscapes. I have a particular interest in exploring inequalities in greenspace access, mapping land cover and in geographic definitions of the Rural-Urban divide.

The use of mobile technology forms an important strand of my research. I am interested in mapping using GPS but also in automated extraction from social media and other online data (such as Flickr and Twitter) in order to inform about the use and values of urban greenspace.

I am currently involved in the Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) project, led by Dr Anna Jorgensen within the Department and funded by NERC through the Valuing Nature network. I am working on Work Package 1 which seeks to investigate the statistical relationships between health inequality, deprivation and greenspace in Sheffield using a range of secondary data (see funded research below).

I am a co-author on the Rural-Urban Classification which is the official statistic used to distinguish rural and urban areas in England and Wales. The work identified and characterised physical settlements in order to generate a typology of settlement form (such as ‘village,’ ‘town’ or ‘urban fringe’). Click here for further details.

I am interested in vague and fuzzy geographic objects. Despite the widespread acknowledgment that people will frequently have varying opinions relating to spatial boundaries and categorization, most digital representations treat such continuous spatial objects as discrete objects. My doctoral studies were concerned with formulating vague definitions of place through the extraction of differing opinions held on the internet. As such, it generated vague and probabilistic data for both neighbourhood boundaries and settlement classifications. I am interested in applying these concepts within landscape planning (for example using vague boundaries within Landscape Character Assessment).

•	Sheffield NDVI: Aerial image showing presence of ‘green’ in Sheffield’s city (Source: Landmark, 20 Poor health: The health divide of Sheffield – areas of red denote poor health (Source: adopted from Census data, 2011) Flickr word cloud: Words appearing in Flickr captions in two contrasting parks in Sheffield (the l

Funded Research Projects

I have worked on over 50 research projects. A complete list can be found here. A selection of my research projects are detailed below:

2016-2019: Improving Wellbeing through Urban Nature (IWUN) (Client: NERC)
I am working on Work Package 1 (WP1) with Anna Jorgensen, Ravi Maheswaran, Meghann Stanton, and Ross Cameron. WP1 is a place-based analysis of population-level linkages between natural environments, health inequality, deprivation and green space usage. It takes an epidemiological approach to investigating and evidence the relationship between urban Natural Environments and Health and Wellbeing in Sheffield. It focuses especially on the links between the characteristics of urban Natural Environments and Health and Wellbeing outcomes, and the way that this plays out within differing socio-economic population groups. See http://iwun.uk for further details

2014: Rural-Urban Classification for Local Authority Districts in England (Client: Defra, ONS, CLG and Welsh Government)
Co-Investigator with Bibby, P. The work updated the 2001 official definitions for rural areas to tie in with the 2011 Census. See here for details

2013: Rural-Urban Classification (Client: Defra, ONS, CLG and Welsh Government)
Co-Investigator with Bibby, P. The work updated the 2001 official definitions for rural areas to tie in with the 2011 Census. See here for details

Selected publications

View full publications list

Journal articles