Green cities will create cleaner cities

Researchers from the University of Wollongong secured funding to investigate innovative ways to tackle pollution in cities using plants.

The funding from the University Global Partnerships Network (UGPN) will allow a partnership with the University of Surrey to develop global solutions to a universal issue.

The research team will include experts in smart cities, an atmospheric chemist, an ecologist, and specialists in air quality and health.

Project leader and SMART’s Director , Senior Professor Pascal Perez, says the funding is just the beginning of a long-term partnership that he hopes will include researchers from institutions spanning the globe.

“Whether it’s designing edible bus stops, buildings with living walls, or panels on streets with native climbers, we need to get smart about the way we think of our cities,” Professor Perez said.

“Street canyons are the most polluted city environments, due to high traffic volumes and limited ventilation.

“Green infrastructure has many benefits, including combatting air pollution and making our cities more liveable and cooler.”

The partnership aims to support decision-makers by developing a new framework for street-scale greening that can have widespread use, that fights pollution, that is evidence-based and that is practical.

“We will use both experimental and modelling approaches and conduct real-life trials to make our cities cleaner, more interesting, and more liveable,” Professor Perez said.

The UGPN goal is to develop sustainable world-class research, education and knowledge transfer through an active international network of selected Universities collaborating in research, learning and teaching to benefit global society.

The UGPN annual conference will be held in Wollongong next year.