23 April 2018

How to grow your own air quality garden

Is poor air quality damaging your health? What can you do to tackle air pollution in your local area? The Museum of London has partnered with Citizen Sense to develop a free toolkit for improving air quality with urban gardens.

Plants on display on the Citizen Sense walk.

Citizen Sense leads an air-quality walk at the Barbican

Air pollution is a major issue environmental public health in many cities throughout the world. While reducing emissions at the source is the best way to address air pollution, vegetation can play an important role in mitigating air pollution. Trees and plants can capture particulate matter, absorb gaseous pollutants, and phyto-remediate soils. In addition, vegegation can enhance biodiversity, capture stormwater and reduce flooding, and lessen the urban heat island effect.

Plants are organisms that are continually sensing and changing our environments. The Citizen Sense research group has developed the term ‘Phyto-sensor’ to describe these vegetal processes whereby plants sense, respond and contribute to environments.

Download the PhytoSensor toolkit (PDF, 8MB)

This Phyto-Sensor toolkit provides resources for learning how to make your own air quality garden. The Phyto-sensor toolkit was tested and refined through a public workshop and walk held at the Museum of London in March 2018 to investigate the ways in which vegetation can improve air quality.

The Phyto-sensor toolkit is developed by the Citizen Sense research group, led by Jennifer Gabrys. Additional contributors to the Phyto-sensor project include materials designer Francesca Perona and graphic designer Sarah Garcin.

The Phyto-sensor project and events have received support from the Low Emission Neighbourhood (LEN) fund through the City of London. The LEN is an initiative developed by the Mayor of London to help local councils improve air quality.