Green for Good - a project at the nexus of health and sustainability


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Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Advanced Planning and Sustainability and its partners embarked on an exciting project called Green for Good, to strategically unite interrelated sustainability efforts and to connect the dots between investing in greening strategies and quantifiable health impacts. The Office partnered with Hyphae Design Lab, Institute for Healthy Air Water and Soil, University of Louisville and Washington University in St. Louis to leverage their innovative work around assessing environmental conditions and human health risks. 


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The overall goal of the Green for Good project was to examine how vegetation may be utilized to reduce exposure to traffic pollutants and to test the idea that a greener neighborhood is a healthier neighborhood. The project was conducted at St. Margaret Mary School, where a vegetated buffer (biofilter) was installed and configured to reduce exposure of the students and staff to traffic related air pollutants. Air sampling was conducted before and after the planting to see how the trees affected pollution levels. A cohort of 60 students and 24 adults volunteered to provide blood and urine samples both before and after the planting. 

The air monitoring data showed that under certain conditions, particulate pollution was 60% lower immediately behind the biofilter. The health monitoring showed that among the study participants, levels of circulating angiogenic cells were higher after the biofilter was planted. These cells keep blood vessels healthy. When a person has higher levels of these cells, they have a lower risk of heart disease. We also found that levels of immune cells were lower after planting. 

Funding for the project was provided by an anonymous donor and the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. 


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Louisville Ky Image

Read the final report.


Download the Green for Good brochure







Green Heart Louisville 

Green Heart Louisville is a unique, first of its kind study to rigorously and scientifically assess the impact of green space on air quality and health in urban communities.

The study will help us to discover:

  • How to plant trees in urban communities to maximize the removal of air pollution,
  • If increasing green space affects the risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease,
  • If increasing urban green space reduces mental stress, enhances social cohesion, increases physical activity, and
  • If urban green space affects crime rates, property values, storm water runoff, energy use, and heat island effect.

To learn more Green Heart Louisville, click here!

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