A breath of fresh air: Hammersmith’s bid for a low emission neighbourhood


Sam Neal, Associate Director (Major Projects and Regeneration) at Project Centre looks at Low Emission Neighbourhoods and how taking a holistic approach can address the complexity of improved air quality.

Appendix 2 - perspective sketchAir pollution is becoming one of London’s biggest issues in the first half of the 21st Century and was featured prominently in the London mayoral election. In response to the dire need to address poor air quality in London, the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund (MAQF) was established in early 2013 to support new schemes and projects by London Boroughs to improve air quality with £20 million available over ten years. Part of the Fund includes the establishment of Low Emission Neighbourhoods (LENs), which are a package of measures within a defined area to create a measurable reduction in emissions and improvement to the public realm. The MAQF is offering two boroughs £1 million each to deliver their LENs.

Recently, the Guardian highlighted the dangers warmer weather brings with air pollution warnings issued as temperatures rose towards 27C (80F) in the south of England (read article). As spring moves into summer Defra are warning people with lung or heart problems that they should avoid outdoor strenuous activity, with both King’s College London and campaigning group Clean Air in London, raising concerns that there should be clearer public warnings on the risks of poor air quality.

So what can be done? Working with the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Project Centre compiled a competitive bid to Transport for London to address the extremely poor air quality in the Hammersmith Town Centre (see image below).Hammersmith-01

Our theory of change takes a holistic approach to addressing the complexity of air quality. The creation of a new usable public realm will act as a focus for the community around the issue of air quality.  Measures aim to build the capacity of the community to address air quality at a local level through education and by encouraging a modal shift amongst stakeholders. Measures include a community awareness programme, providing up to 10 off-the-shelf household air quality monitoring devices such as the Air Quality Egg or the Smart Citizen Kit that directly connects to the internet allowing for real-time online monitoring. We have also proposed to implement a permanent monitoring station that doubles as art similar to the Living Light in Seoul, South Korea. Using paint containing ultrafine titanium dioxide we also plan to reduce nitrogen dioxide levels through a process of photocatalysis.

These interventions will make long term, sustained improvements to air quality in the town centre and deliver greater community cohesion through a common goal ensuring a cleaner, greener Hammersmith.

Project Centre is proud to be working with Hammersmith and Fulham as part of a London wide effort to improve the air quality across the city for future generations and address what the House of Commons considers being a real “public health emergency”. You can read more on this here: (read document).

If you would like support on ways your local area can reduce its emissions, Project Centre offer a multidisciplinary design team capable of addressing the complex nature of air quality and emissions in urban areas. For more information or to arrange a meeting to discuss please contact: Sam Neal, Associate Director – Major Projects and Regeneration, sam.neal@projectcentre.co.uk, or call 020 7203 8400.