These vegetated surfaces don’t just look pretty. They have other benefits as well, including cooling city blocks, reducing loud noises, and improving a building’s energy efficiency.What’s more, a recent modeling study shows that green walls can potentially reduce large amounts of air pollution in what’s called a “street canyon,” or the corridor between tall buildings.
For the study, Thomas Pugh, a biogeochemist at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, and his colleagues created a computer model of a green wall with generic vegetation in a Western European city. Then they recorded chemical reactions based on a variety of factors, such as wind speed and building placement.
The simulation revealed a clear pattern: A green wall in a street canyon trapped or absorbed large amounts of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter—both pollutants harmful to people, said Pugh. Compared with reducing emissions from cars, little attention has been focused on how to trap or take up more of the pollutants, added Pugh, whose study was published last year in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
That’s why the green-wall study is “putting forward an alternative solution that might allow [governments] to improve air quality in these problem hot spots,” he said.
Jagtvej, Copenhagen, Denmark and King Edward Avenue, Vancouver, BC. Click through for the google streetviews to have a good look around. Then lets talk about the transportation hierarchy, rhetoric and reality.
Street #1 happens to be the location of Secret Republic world headquarters (i.e. my humble apartment). An even more radical contrast is the street shown intersecting Jagtvej, Nørrebrogade.
Nørrebrogade is the world’s busiest bicycle street, with about 36,000 cyclists daily. It was recently redesigned to feature two car-restricted sections, extensively widened cycle tracks, widened sidewalks, and bus boarding islands to eliminate conflicts between pedestrians and cyclists. The traffic lights are timed to the speed of cyclists–I often bike to work along Nørrebrogade without ever hitting a red light. Car traffic was reduced by 60%, bicycle traffic increased by 20%, and pedestrian traffic increased by 60% at the bridge connecting it to Copenhagen’s city center. The average noise level of the street has been cut in half, and traffic accidents have decreased by about 45%.
Other parts of the city are now demanding similar street transformations.
I like the adventure.
The View from Suicide Bridge
Tell me again how you think tattoos aren’t art, please…
Nice Structure of the Day:
In the heart of Shanghai’s hustle-and-bustly Lujiazui financial district lies a circular elevated walkway that serves as a pedestrian overpass and an observational deck. For more bird’s eye views of the landmark, head over to Google Maps.
Photographed by Victor Lakics from the Oriental Pearl Tower.