Environmental co-benefits of urban greening for mitigating heat and carbon emissions

Peiyuan Li, Zhi Hua Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Urban greening has been as a popular and effective strategy for ameliorating urban thermal environment and air quality. Nevertheless, it remains an outstanding challenge for numerical urban models to disentangle and quantify the complex interplay between heat and carbon dynamics. In this study, we used a newly developed coupled urban canopy-carbon dynamics model to investigate the environmental co-benefits for mitigating urban heat stress as well as the reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. In particular, we evaluated the impact of specific components of urban greening, viz. fraction of the urban lawn, bare soil, tree coverage, and irrigation on heat and carbon fluxes in the built environment. The results of numerical simulations show that the expansion of urban green space, in general, leads to environmental cooling and reduced CO2 emission, albeit the efficacy varies for different vegetation types. In addition, adequate irrigation is essential to effect plant physiological functions for cooling and CO2 uptake, whereas further improvement becomes marginal with excessive irrigation. The findings of this study, along with its implications on environmental management, will help to promote sustainable urban development strategies for achieving desirable environmental co-benefits for urban residents and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112963
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021


  • Carbon emission
  • Environmental co-benefit
  • Irrigation
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Urban greening
  • Urban vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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