Arup backs spread of living walls for polluted cities

Consultant Arup has called for strategic plans to be drawn up to green cities to cut air pollution and dampen noiseBig Ben Green

Mock up of how Big Ben would look retrofitted with a living wall

An indepth report says that green building envelopes, often dismissed as architectural window dressing, are slashing by 20% street level air pollution and muffling traffic noise by up to 10 decibels in certain situations.

Arup is calling on developers and planners to implement strategic approaches towards  ‘greening’ and to harness the benefits of living walls and green roofs to help create a cleaner and healthier environment for all.

The study by 15 top engineers into the impact of trail-blazing projects around the world also found green building envelopes can help to reduce the urban up-heating, filter fine dust on the streets and soak up storm water surges.

Tom Armour, Global Landscape Architecture Leader at Arup said: “Tackling rising air pollution is a priority to help improve people’s health. As our cities continue to become built up, ‘grey’ structures, such as walls and roofs, are a source of untapped potential for adapting into green spaces.

“When well-designed, green envelopes can have a positive impact on tackling air pollution, but can also deliver a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits to make cities more attractive and healthier places to be.”

The report called Cities Alive: Green Building Envelope reviews green infrastructure schemes across five global cities; London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Melbourne and Hong Kong to quantify the benefits of ‘green building envelopes’. It is the fourth report in the Arup ‘Cities Alive’ series which looks at ways to help shape a better world.

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