Solving the issue of air pollution is one of the most significant challenges of our generation. We all have seen photos of metropolitan cities like Beijing, where smog is taking over into the streets, and you can barely see your hand in front of your eyes. Earlier this year toxic levels of pollution were measured also in London, forcing the city to discourage people from walking or exercising outdoors.


Is pollution really that bad? Yes.

According to Green City Solutions, air pollution causes approximately 8 million deaths per year, and can inflict up to $1.6 trillion in economic damage in the EU alone. That’s why the team has made it their task to make clean urban air profitable.

Their smart and profitable climate infrastructure combines the internet of things and plants to make the cities of tomorrow more sustainable and livable. The solution is a unique marriage of nature and design — The CityTree.

Photo: Green City Solutions

CityTree is a stylish installation that reduced pollution by 30% within a proximity of 50 metres. The process is tracked through innovative software and technology. Data can be stored and reviewed which makes impact assessment more feasible. Maintenance is very low, ensuring that the solution can be easily adopted by city governments.

The secret lies within the almost magical powers of a special moss culture – the plant is able to absorb air pollution from its surroundings and then turn it into biomass. It’s basically snacking on pollutants.

Isn’t that what trees and forests are for? True. But the CityTree is more cost and space efficient. It’s power of air cleaning equals 275 regular trees. Compared to the same amount of trees, a single CityTree reduces costs by 95%, and only takes up 1% of space.

This is not to say we should cut down all forests and build CityTrees instead. It just means that CityTree is responding to the challenges and needs of urban area and big city solutions.

And it doesn’t stop there. After receiving initial funding and being awarded Best Digital Cities scale-up by EIT Digital, Green City Solutions have now developed a second product: AirCare.


AirCare is a map displaying emission and pollution data. By retrieving data from CityTrees and other measuring stations, AirCare is able to put together air quality profiles for cities, making information more available and accessible. In the future, the tool is to be expanded to show pollution levels of individual streets — so that you can find your cleanest way to work!

Green City Solutions wants to make air pollution a thing of the past – and is giving us a clearer direction for the future.