Improving desk-based methods for quantifying and enhancing air pollution mitigation by green infrastructure at different spatial scales

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Abstract

Air pollution is the greatest environmental hazard to human health, and of particular concern in urban areas, where elevated pollutant concentrations and potential sufferers converge. Green infrastructure (GI) is known to be an effective method of carbon sequestration, thereby helping to tackle the intertwined issue of climate change. Pollutants may also be directly mitigated through various physical, biological and chemical interactions between GI and the surrounding atmosphere.
A mounting body of evidence supports the use of GI as a passive control system for urban air pollution. Targeted design and management of GI can maximise its air pollution mitigation potential. However, the relationship between GI and air quality is complex, and the literature regarding vegetation species selection for enhanced air pollution abatement under specific urban contexts is not clear-cut. At local scale, GI can act as a barrier between air pollutants and pedestrians as well as a means to capture or disperse ambient pollutants. Efficient GI design at local scale, including appropriate species selection, requires an appreciation of site-specific physical and environmental conditions. Resource-effective GI design and implementation at city scale and above, however, requires efficient assessment methodologies and broadly applicable principles.
Research findings to date illustrate that there is an urgent need for a pragmatic framework that facilitates resource-effective GI management for improved urban air quality. The founding objective of this PhD project is to build upon results from the student's Masters project, in which it was found that a compromise may exist between high-resolution, on-the-ground assessments of air pollution mitigation by existing GI and lower-resolution, desk-based methodologies that utilise remote sensing. We intend to extend this novel, desk-based approach to include design recommendations that are generated according to context-specific input criteria.
The aim of this PhD project is to develop a GI design framework for enhanced urban air pollution mitigation, which will involve a novel methodology for the generation of site-specific recommendations, incorporating results from field experimentation, remote sensing, and citizen science work.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509772/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
2124242 Studentship EP/N509772/1 24/09/2018 31/12/2021 Edward Yendle Barwise
 
Description SCAN (Street-scale Greening for Cooling and Clean Air in Cities) project 
Organisation University of Wollongong
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Writing scientific paper; organising and running a workshop/webinar for knowledge transfer/public engagement
Collaborator Contribution Writing scientific paper; organising and running a workshop/webinar for knowledge transfer/public engagement; hosting research students at respective organisations
Impact Tomson, M., Kumar, P., Barwise, Y. et al. (2021). Green infrastructure for air quality improvement in street canyons. Environment International, 146
Start Year 2020
 
Title HedgeDATE (Hedge Design for Abatement of Traffic Emissions) 
Description A web-based application, aimed at the general public, that enables users to understand the impacts of green infrastructure (trees, hedges, etc) on urban air pollution, and supports users to identify appropriate design and management considerations for green infrastructure implementation. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2019 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact A scientific publication on the development of this software is currenly under review 
 
Description HedgeDATE (Hedge Design For the Abatement of Traffic Emissions) workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact ~20 members of the general public from Guildford (Surrey) and surrounding areas attended a public workshop to provide end-user feedback on a public engagement and decision support tool (HedgeDATE: Hedge Design for the Abatement of Traffic Emisisons)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/university-surreys-gcare-team-presents-hedgedate-prototype-part-iscape...
 
Description Poster presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A poster presentation on the project was delivered via an online event (New Horizons: Doctoral College Conference 2020) organised by the university.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/doctoral-college/conference
 
Description Poster presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact A poster presentation on the project was delivered at a workshop (CArE-Cities Workshop) involving academics from around the world.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/global-centre-clean-air-research/gallery/first-care-cities-workshop
 
Description Presentation at RHS Wisley PhD Symposium 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact ~50 people (primarily researchers and practitioners) attended an event at RHS Wisley, which involved discussion on scientific and pertinent concepts/studies/projects related to botany, plant biology, plant management, and ecosystem services.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Press release on Barwise and Kumar (2020) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A press release was issued on the publication of the core review paper of this project (Barwise and Kumar, 2020).This was picked up and referenced by more than 25 different global news outlets (https://nature.altmetric.com/details/78376183/news), including BBC news (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200504-which-trees-reduce-air-pollution-best) and UPI (https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2020/03/26/Scientists-identify-best-trees-for-fighting-roadside-pollution/9801585233863/).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.surrey.ac.uk/news/new-framework-will-help-decide-which-trees-are-best-fight-against-air-...