The possibility of obtaining urban roughness length from satellite-derived maps of land cover is explored, using turbulence measurements taken above the urban canopy. The upwind land cover is identified using a source-area model. Firstly, from four sets of measurements taken in Birmingham (U.K.), it is shown that in an area mainly split between the land-cover types ‘urban’ and ‘suburban’, suburban cover in the upwind source area is the more important contributor to increasing measured roughness length. A smaller dataset obtained in a second U.K. city (Salford, Greater Manchester) shows a similar result. A roughness-length aggregation model is also applied to the data from both sites. This assigns values of roughness length to each of the land-cover classifications and uses the source-area model to predict the resultant roughness length based on the wind properties. The results from this are shown to agree with the earlier findings.