An Italian architect, urban planner, and academic has been honoured with a major European health award for his efforts to improve the air quality of urban environments.
Stefano Boeri was awarded the 2023 European Lung Foundation (ELF) Award, presented during this year’s European Respiratory Society’s International Congress earlier this month.
The award recognises those individuals, groups or organisations that have made an “outstanding contribution” to human respiratory health.
Kjeld Hansen, ELF chair, said: “We are delighted to honour Stefano Boeri with our annual award. His work represents an innovative and sustainable approach to architecture and urban planning. By taking innovative strides in the field and inspiring other architects, his work that has the potential to benefit the environment and health and well-being of generations to come.”
Boeri’s designs integrate living nature into urban environment: Several international studies have shown that living and working closely connected with trees and plants can lead to reduced stress levels, and improved physical and mental health, as well as improved air quality with consequent positive impact on lung health.
He is full professor of urban planning at Politecnico di Milano, and director of the Future City Lab at Tongji University in Shanghai.
Among his many credits, and activities, Boeri is president of the scientific committee of Forestami, a project to plant three million trees in the metropolitan area of Milan by 2030.
The project aims to clean the air, improve living conditions in the wider area of the city, and counter the effects of climate change through the reduction of the “heat island” effect, and the mitigation of temperatures in cities.
Boeri said he was “happy and proud” to receive such an “important” award.
“Green offers extraordinary benefits, it helps to mitigate urban heat – making cities more liveable – and to absorb CO2 and fine particles, making cities and our lungs healthier,” he added.
“For this reason, for over 20 years, we have been working to develop ideas and projects aimed at multiplying trees and forests in urban areas. Our ‘green obsession’ is a planning commitment and at the same time an aspiration that we would like to share with anyone who looks with courage and optimism at the future of our cities and the quality of life of all citizens.”
Main image: Stefano Boeri (right) receives 2023 European Lung Foundation Award
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