Air pollution


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Urban planning to reduce air and noise pollution

Urban environments provide many benefits and opportunities to residents, but there are also hazards associated with living in cities. Two of the most persistent issues are air and noise pollution, which often originate from the same sources. Reducing one often means reducing the other, leading to measurable health improvements and more attractive urban spaces in general.

Mitigation efforts in European cities have so far been largely insufficient to reduce air and noise pollution below specified guidelines. New approaches to urban planning are required to make a meaningful difference.

This article is a brief summary of the Sweco Urban Insight report "Wholesome Sir, Serene Cities – Reduced Noise and Air Pollution in Urban Areas." Please explore the full report for more information, citations and additional conclusions.


Often the same sources of both forms of pollution

Solutions to noise and air pollution problems are complex because they originate from

human activities that are often part of a vibrant, urban culture. These activities include transportation and construction, as well as shopping (delivery of goods), restaurant visits, leisure activities and more.

Reducing or removing these sources is difficult. Such changes take time and call for access to better alternatives. Long-term strategies are required for transportation systems, production and construction methods, in favour of quieter, more environmentally friendly solutions.

This makes it all the more important to identify solutions to pollution both in existing urban areas and when planning new urban areas.

Air pollutants – a major health issue