The “greening” of urban environments has more than an aesthetic benefit, according to new research conducted by scientists at the University of Birmingham and Lancaster University in the UK.
Researchers discovered that trees, bushes and other greenery growing in the “urban canyons” of cities can deliver substantial reductions in pollution at street level.
Green walls, such as walls of grass or climbing ivy, were most effective as air pollution filters. Concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and microscopic particulate matter exceed safe levels for human health on many city streets, but careful placement of greenery could reduce these levels by up to 40% and 60% respectively.
The research has major implications for town planning and infrastructure development in urban environments.