Green Infrastructure, Air Quality, Health and Wellbeing
Breathe/Respirar is a multidisciplinary action research programme that explores how green infrastructure and other nature-based solutions contribute to air quality, health and wellbeing, and provide opportunities to enjoy co-benefits such as connecting people and nature and supporting development of an inclusive green economy. The Breathe/Respirar programme, which began its development in 2017, is being implemented through a series of projects jointly undertaken by the universities of Sheffield and Buenos Aires in collaboration with schools, communities and other organisations.
BREATHE explores the use of green barriers/living fences around school playgrounds as a way to block and filter air pollution, creating a healthier environment for children and facilitating contact with nature for the school community. It involves design, implementation and impact assessment in two schools (in Sheffield and Buenos Aires) and assesses the feasibility of scaling the project to other schools.
This project allowed small-scale horticultural producers from disadvantaged peri-urban areas in Buenos Aires to acquire the skills to construct and install green barriers/living fences in schoolyards and to grow the plants required. This provided them opportunities to diversify and expand their activities to service the emerging green infrastructure sector in Buenos Aires, boosting employment opportunities and livelihoods.
This multidisciplinary project is implementing Urban Living Labs in Buenos Aires with the aim of demonstrating the efficacy of green barriers in filtering air pollution out of schoolyards to reduce environmental risks to children’s health and development, as well as generating multiple social and ecological co-benefits that can be derived from living fences.