Greening of European cities: Social benefits of urban nature for urban air quality

M. Bočkarjova*, Alexandra Kačalová

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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While current climate and environmental efforts are mostly focused on the necessary and urgent CO2 emissions cuts, energy transition and climate adaptation, other not least pressing issues such as air quality start reaching the political agenda (European Commission, 2019). In this paper, we address air pollution from the social welfare perspective and bring together two strings of literature on the productivity of green urban infrastructure for ambient air quality and the monetisation of air quality improvements. Based on the EU air quality data by country and city, we identify those regions, which would benefit most from improved urban green infrastructure to improve air quality performance in Europe. We review a set of academic literature on the impact of urban green combating urban air pollution, and provide a synthesis review of social externality costs connected to urban air pollution. We extrapolate, in a stylized manner, the effect of increasing urban vegetation throughout the EU and in a selection of EU cities. Our estimates show that additional 1m2 of green cover throughout the EU cities would lead to 65,9 mln EUR of benefit per year, split about equally between the benefits of improved air quality and carbon sequestration, equivalent to 976 euros per ha per year for air pollutants and 1024 euros per ha per year for carbon abatement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-204
Number of pages28
JournalEuropean Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Air pollutants
  • Benefits of urban green; alue estimation
  • Green infrastructure
  • Social cost of carbon


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