Mehrdad Borna | PhD

Supervisors: Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan, Dr Krystallia Kamvasinou

Designing Healthy Cities: The impacts of urban form on concentration of air pollution at pedestrian level

In 2010 the World Health Organization stated that urban air pollution as a critical public health problem. The same report accentuated that nearly 4.2 million deaths per year worldwide were caused by the effects of urban outdoor air pollutant. For instance, in a developed city like London, there were more than 9,000 early deaths in 2015 caused by the pollutants such as Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Particulate Matter (PM10, PM2.5) and Ozone (O3).

Considering the above, this study postulates that there is an association between urban form and urban air quality. Therefore, the core focus of this research is to highlight potential improvements that can be achieved through the manipulation of urban form which is thought to stimulate a more positive impact on the formation of urban microclimate which can increase the dilution and dispersion of urban air pollutants and respectively reduce its adverse impact on human health. In so doing, this research piloted a study on The Regent’s Place, which is located adjacent to one of the most polluted roads in London (Euston Road). The study began with administering detailed fieldwork and spot measurement of both pollutants and microclimatic parameters, which was followed by modelling a variety of real-life scenarios by using computational simulation studies for validation and prediction.

The results of these studies will aid to produce a more comprehensive urban design guidance capable of dispersing and reducing concentrations of road traffic and non-road traffic related air pollutants in active urban pockets. In this respect, the timing of this investigation is of particular importance, especially as a result of rapid urban population growth and construction of tall buildings in dense urban centres which have worsen and increased the concentration of urban air pollution.