To demonstrate the potential of a data-driven approach to the planning of tree planting for quantifiable ecosystem services, and explore how this approach can best be integrated with a community-centred one.

Funding Amount:

NERC funded

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Project Summary:

Trees in a park form a canopy overhead

AFFORE3ST (Advancing a planning Framework FOr Regionally Enhanced and Equitable Ecosystem Services from urban Treescapes)

Urban trees deliver different amounts of benefits depending on where they are planted. For example, the ability of street trees to reduce our exposure to pollution from vehicles, just a few feet from us, depends on local wind conditions and their interactions with nearby buildings.

AFFORE3ST (Advancing a planning Framework FOr Regionally Enhanced & Equitable Ecosystem Services from urban Treescapes) aims to help focus urban tree planting where it will deliver the greatest benefits to those who need them most.

Dr Levine will be working in partnership with Trees for Cities and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology to integrate the Green Infrastructure for Roadside Air Quality (GI4RAQ) computer model into mapping software. This will help identify priority areas for planting to reduce local exposure to vehicular pollution via changes in polluted airflow. They will also explore, with local residents, how this technology can best support community-centred planting as they develop a Strategic Planting Plan for the London borough of Tower Hamlets.



Dr James Levine is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham, and Built Environment Ambassador for the Birmingham Institute of Forest Research. Dr Levine’s focus is on air quality, spanning the conventional boundary between natural and built environments. His background is predominantly in atmospheric science, developing numerical models of atmospheric chemistry and transport for innovative applications. However, drawing on experience of architectural practice (qualified to RIBA Part I), James increasingly couples software innovation with knowledge-exchange activities with urban practitioners: i.e., co-design with target end users.

Twitter: @BIFoRUoB

STATUS: Ongoing

Project Lead

Dr James Levine, University of Birmingham


Trees for Cities and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology