Green Infrastructure & the Urban Forest 

Some of the key academics involved in Green Infrastructure research are Prof Rob MacKenzie,  Dr Emma Ferranti, Dr Nick Grayson and Dr James Levine

Dr Emma Ferranti facilitates the Trees Design and Action Group (TDAG) in the Midlands.  TDAG brings together individuals, professionals, academics and organisations from wide ranging disciplines in both the public and private sectors to improve knowledge and good practice to support the role of urban trees through better collaboration in the planning, design, construction and management and maintenance of our urban places.  The publications this group collaborated on include: 

First Steps in Urban Air Quality summarises the science on air pollution and green/grey infrastructure so practitioners can make informed decisions to improve air quality for better health outcomes. 
First Steps in Valuing Trees and Green Infrastructure an introductory guide that provides the context for valuing trees and green infrastructure in urban areas. It presents a range of common valuation scenarios and available tools. It describes how to approach valuation to ensure it delivers a change for the better in the way that policy, investment, design and management decisions affect environmental assets. Understanding the purpose of the valuation, and which stakeholders can act on valuation results is critical for success. 
- First Steps in Urban Heat for Built Environmental Practitioners - this guide explains urban heat, the role of green infrastructure, and how to undertake heat sensitive planning and design. 
- Urban Design for Air Quality - this guide explains how good urban design can improve air quality using simple principles that benefit air quality and providing practical guidance and illustrations outlining how to implement them in urban areas.

The Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality (GI4RAQ) Platform has been developed by a team of people including Rob MacKenzie and James Levine. The free software is designed to help towns and cities use street-planting to reduce citizens’ exposure to air pollution.  James has also worked with Transport for London to develop their first evidence-based approach to GI4RAQ ( This builds on the simpler guidance he wrote with the Greater London Authority in 2019, 'Using Green Infrastructure to Protect People from Air Pollution'.

For more information about research into health and wellbeing related to trees, forests and woodlands please visit our "Health and Wellbeing" research page. 

Dr Andrea Frank has recently joined the University of Birmingham. She is an urban planning scholar regarded for her work on community engagement in planning as well as researching and advancing planning education and pedagogies
particularly in respect to international and community-engaged (socially responsible) co-learning.

Postgraduate research 

Nigar Parvin
 is a PhD student who commenced study in March 2021. Her supervisors are Emma Ferranti (GEES), Lee Chapman (GEES) and Christian Pfrang (GEES). Nigar is looking at Urban Heat Island Impact on Human Health of Dhaka Megacity, Bangladesh.  

Yanzhi Lu is a PhD student who commenced study in September 2021 Yanzhi is studying the potential of urban trees to remove air pollutants, carbon and heat. He will complete a large-scale analysis based on Google Street View. His supervisors are Dr Christian Pfrang (GEES), Dr Emma Ferranti (GEES), Prof Lee Chapman (GEES).


James Levine Urban Trees and Clean Air


Recent Publications 

Ferranti, E.J.S. and Acton, W.J.F. and Lindop, A. and Wolstoncroft, M. and Han, U.P. and Levine, J.G. and MacKenzie, A.R. and Grayson, N. (2021) Urban design for air quality. Technical Report. University of Birmingham, epapers.

Ferranti, E.J.S and Futcher, J. and Salter, K. and Hodgkinson, S.P.B and Chapman, L. (2021) First Steps in Urban Heat for Built Environment Practitioners. Technical Report. Trees and Design Action Group, epapers

Ferranti, E.J. and Jaluzot, A., (2020). Using the Business Model Canvas to increase the impact of green infrastructure valuation tools. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening54, p.126776. 

Levine, J. G., Brown Y., and  MacKenzie A.R. (2020). Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality (GI4RAQ) Guidance & Decision Tree: An evidence-based approach to reducing roadside exposure to road transport pollution, Developed by the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, University of Birmingham and Transport for London

Ferranti, E. J. S., MacKenzie, A. R., Levine, J.G., Ashworth, K and Hewitt, C.N. (2019). First Steps in Air Quality for Built Environment Practitioners. Technical Report. University of Birmingham & TDAG. (

Greater London Authority (2019). Using Green Infrastructure to Protect People from Air Pollution, written in consultation with the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research, University of Birmingham, Global Centre for Clean Air Research, University of Surrey, and Transport for London 

Cariñanos P., et al (2019). Estimation of the Allergenic Potential of Urban Trees and Urban Parks: Towards the Healthy Design of Urban Green Spaces of the Future. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16(8), 1357. 

Hewitt, C. N., Ashworth, K., & MacKenzie, A. R. (2019). Using green infrastructure to improve urban air quality (GI4AQ). Ambio. https://doi:10.1007/s13280-019-01164-3     

Jaluzot, A. and Ferranti, E.J.S. (2019). First Steps in Valuing Trees and Green Infrastructure. A Trees and Design Action Group (TDAG) Guidance Document. UK: London. Available by Dr James Levine and Dr Emma Ferranti – October 2019   

Promise Treescapes, not trees Article written December 2019 by Rob MacKenzie