The study area is the town of Saltaire, a medium-sized residential area situated about 4 miles north of the city of Bradford.
The town takes its name from the its founder, Sir Titus Salt, a leading Victorian industrialist and the river Aire, on which is lies. The historic village in the center of Saltaire is home to a large Victorian mill building, formerly a textile mill but now an art center, and an orderly grid of small Victorian houses, which were originally built to house the mill workers and are now in private ownership.
The village is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Victorian model village. In recognition of this it was granted UNESCO world heritage status in December 2001.
Although it was built as a separate village,the historic center of Saltaire is now enveloped by the neighbouring town of Shipley to the East and more modern housing to the South. The town is now home to approximately 12000 inhabitants, three primary schools and a secondary school.
At the northern edge of Saltaire, the river Aire and the Leeds / Liverpool canal run east to west along the Aire Valley. To the north and south of the river the gradient of the land rises up the valley edges. Much of the housing is built on the southern slope of the valley.
Saltaire train station lies in the valley basin, close to the river and the canal and provides regular trains to Leeds and Bradford. The main road through the study area is the A650, which is regularly congested with both cars and heavy goods vehicles.