Air pollution is a global issue negatively influencing the health of millions of people around the world, particularly in urban areas. One of the most hazardous elements of air pollution, and at the same time a basic indicator of air quality is concentration of particulate matter (PM). Since elimination of emission sources, which is the most effective solution in many places, is not possible, alternative methods are searched.
Two methods of improvement of air quality are used in this design thesis. First is the improvement of the ventilation system of the city and the second is air phytoremediation technique, so the ability of plants to capture part of the pollution. While reduction of concentration of PM along roads is present in the current research, methods on phytoremediation emitted at greater heights, e.g. domestic heating and industry, are emerging. The objective of the thesis is to fill the gap by investigating the influence of spatial composition of green infrastructure on effectiveness of mitigating air pollution coming from different sources, in particular those located above human level. This is done by design in the Polish city of Legnica, which struggles with high emissions of pollution from the copper industry and domestic heating.
Design principles, created based on literature review on phytoremediation, air pollution dispersion and urban aerodynamics, combined with local preconditions are applied in the designs in Legnica in three levels of scale: micro scale site designs, neighbourhood plan and on the city scale. While some solutions, such as elevated vegetation and vertical structures for plants, are focused on mitigation of PM coming from above and are specific for a micro scale, the nozzle and matix layout of vegetation with different permeability, are designed for filtering and directing horizontal airflows and are upscaled and also used on the city scale.