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Does urban greening influence the indoor and outdoor air quality of the City of Sydney?

Project Member(s): Torpy, F.

Funding or Partner Organisation: The Council of the City of Sydney (City of Sydney Community Grants Program)

Start year: 2013

Summary: There is strong evidence of the link between urban air quality and the health of a city┬┐s occupants. There is also growing evidence that urban greenspace can reduce many common air pollutants. Our study aims to examine the performance of existing green-space initiatives to reduce air pollutant levels in the central business district of the City of Sydney. As most people spend the majority of their time indoors, we will also test the relationship between outdoor air at street level and the indoor environment in a range of UTS and City-managed buildings (for which we have already arranged access). From the analysis of this data, we hope to be able to draw holistic conclusions on the effects of greenspace on the air that most city-dwellers breathe. Our experimental design will involve collecting matched air samples from City and UTS buildings and nearby streets for a broad range or air quality variables once a month for 12 months. Along with the common variables used to indicate general air quality (eg. CO2, CO, SOx, NOx, PM 2.5, PM 10), we will also collect data for airborne biological material (eg. Mould spores), which will add to the scientific and health-related value of the project. To this data set we will add a range of meteorological and urban design variables (including the spatial relationship between buildings and greenspaces, down to the level of indoor plants in individual rooms). Statistical modeling will then be used to indicate whether there is a detectable correspondence between the amount, type and proximity of greenspace and the quality of the indoor and outdoor air.


Irga, P, Wooster, E, Torpy, F, Rojahn, J & Fleck, R 2023, 'A green roof or rooftop solar? You can combine them in a biosolar roof, boosting both biodiversity and power output',, The Conversation.

Irga, PJ & Torpy, FR 2016, 'Indoor air pollutants in occupational buildings in a sub-tropical climate: Comparison among ventilation types', BUILDING AND ENVIRONMENT, vol. 98, pp. 190-199.
View/Download from: Publisher's site

Irga, PJ & Torpy, FR 1970, 'A survey of aeromycota for urban Sydney and their relationships with environmental parameters', Australasian Mycological Society & Fungal Network of New Zealand Joint Meeting Conference, Australasian Mycological Society & Fungal Network of New Zealand Joint Meeting Conference, Queenstown, New Zealand..

Irga, PJ 1970, 'Ecological determinants of the aeromycota in urban Sydney', 10th International Congress of Aerobiology, International Congress of Aerobiology, Sydney, Australia.

Keywords: Urban air quality, bioparticles, phytomitigation

FOR Codes: Urban and Industrial Air Quality, Atmospheric Aerosols, Air quality