Research to support environmental quality in urban areas.
About this hub
The Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub ran from 2014-15 to 2020-21 and took a comprehensive view of the sustainability and liveability of urban environments.
Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub impacts highlights some of the hub’s impacts across its 6-year research program.
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At a glance
|NESP funding||$8.88 million|
|Host organisation||University of Melbourne|
|Hub leader||Professor Kirsten Parris|
Cooling urban areas
Trees are continuing to disappear in Australian cities to make way for new development.
Hub research showed that urban vegetation provides a raft of benefits to people and wildlife. Hub research also helped planners predict the impact of development on urban forest cover and design more liveable cities.
Another hub-supported platform demonstrated the benefits of cooler, more active cities. Shadeways is similar to navigation platforms like Google Maps, but instead of searching for the fastest route, it shows users the coolest path from A to B.
Threatened species in Australian cities
Thirty per cent of Australia’s threatened species listed in the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act 1999 live in our cities. Thirty-nine of these species occur only in urban areas.
Hub research identified 56 species that were historically found in cities but have since become locally extinct.
The hub worked with citizen scientists to find out more about the wildlife that call Australian cities home. The hub’s Urban Wildlife App encourages people to record data about the distribution and behaviour of frogs, insects, flying-foxes, possums and gliders in their local neighbourhood and beyond.
Promoting the value of living streets
Hub research investigated the value of street-verge gardening in promoting urban greening, biodiversity and an increased sense of community.
By investing in urban greening we can all reap the benefits of nature. Taking time to notice nature in our cities can boost our mood, concentration and perhaps even creativity.
Clean air inside and out
Australian cities enjoy cleaner air than many of the world’s other major cities, but population growth and a changing climate make them vulnerable to worsening air pollution.
The hub’s air quality research provided case studies that can be used to support policy change and deliver effective messages to the public to help them reduce their exposure to air pollutants.
A common source of indoor air pollutants is fragranced consumer products, such as air fresheners, cleaning supplies, and personal care products. Hub research found that one-third of the population is sensitive to fragranced products, at a personal cost of billions of dollars.