What Street Planting does for Air Quality

The Exchange: 3 Centenary Square Birmingham B1 2DR
Tuesday 7 December 2021 (12:30-13:30)


11 - Dispelling the Myths of Street Planting (web)
Illustration by Jon Halls

What street planting does (and doesn't) do for air quality

Our cities are punctuated by a network of natural spaces and green corridors – from parks and gardens to woodlands, ponds, cycleways and rivers. Trees and shrubs can even be found in the busiest of streets. 

But there’s a popular misconception that street planting soaks up a significant amount of pollution. In fact, it mainly redistributes pollution by changing air currents. This can be beneficial, but it’s not just the quantity and position of planting that matters – the street's orientation, the shapes of buildings either side and their interactions with local wind conditions are critical for air quality too.

In this lunchtime lecture by Dr James Levine, you’ll find out about new open-source software, developed by researchers at the University of Birmingham, that helps cities plant in pursuit of clean air and reduce citizens’ exposure to air pollution at the roadside.

This event is presented as part of The Air We Breathe, a brand new public progamme at The Exchange bringing together cutting edge research from across the University of Birmingham. From a hydrogen train to a sci-fi forest, discover how the University is delivering clean air both here in Birmingham and around the world.

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