RMIT Europe and EIT Urban Mobility partner to tackle air pollution

RMIT Europe and EIT Urban Mobility partner to tackle air pollution

A series of free online courses developed by RMIT and industry experts is helping urban planning professionals to tackle a crucial question: "How can we improve air quality in our cities?"

In Australia, a country with high air quality standards, around 5,000 people a year die prematurely due to pollution, and more than 60 cities don't meet the World Health Organisation's (WHO) air quality guidelines.  

Worldwide the situation is worse, with 97% of those living in cities exposed to poor air quality and around 7 million premature deaths caused by pollution every year.

In Europe, air pollution has been identified as the single largest environmental health risk. 

In recognition of these challenges, RMIT Europe and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Urban Mobility have joined forces to create three online short courses addressing the problem with different solutions and perspectives.    

Aimed at urban mobility and planning professionals and sustainability advocates alike, the courses take learnings from global case studies and examine best practices in sustainable development to educate learners on ways to reduce air pollution and transform our cities to improve population health and liveability. 

"In Australia and many other countries around the world, the biggest challenge is our relationship with the car," said Professor Marco Amati from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies. 

"We have sprawling cities and a strong inclination to use individual transport based on motor vehicles.

"The problem is that cars are one of the biggest sources of air pollution in our cities – how to solve this issue is one of the many points we work on in the short courses."

Alongside Dr Lisa de Kleyn, a Research Fellow in the College of Design and Social Context, Amati developed the course Designing a Green Corridor for Clean Air and Comfort in which urban mobility professionals and sustainable urban development advocates learn how to design a green corridor to promote clean air and control urban temperatures.

urban green corridor Urban green corridors can include networked city areas with a high concentration of vegetation, as well as spaces for walking and cycling

Tackling the air pollution dilemma from the perspective of solutions, measurements and policies was a key approach for developing the short courses. 

Dr Jan Scheurer, an Honorary Associate Professor in the Centre for Urban Research, has collaborated widely with government agencies and academic institutions in Australia and Europe on knowledge generation in public transport and land use integration.

He lead the development of the course on Transport Policy for Clean Air which delves into how different modes of transport impact air quality and how to improve it.

"Reducing congestion, one of the major contributors to poor air quality, and designing efficient transport systems to support growing populations are pressing issues for many city leaders," said Scheurer. 

"People working in urban mobility are increasingly aware of the need to reduce car use in urban areas, which will mean not only changes in planning but influencing user behaviour if we're to transform cities into places of low-car urbanism."

In the Clean Air for Urban Liveability offering the focus is on the impact of pollution on health, how it can be monitored and how public policies can solve it.   

Professor Priya Rajagopalan and Dr Nigel Goodman from the School of Property, Construction and Project Management hope that this course will assist urban designers or public sector professionals to take action against air pollution.

"Techniques such as ecological buffers on roads with a high volume of car traffic can help to improve locations experiencing poor air quality," said Rajagopalan. 

"However, while there are many tools and techniques available to tackle this issue, professionals also need to know how to engage with citizens and garner support to implement them.

"This course helps learners to identify different policy and city interventions," she said. 

Registrations are open for the air quality suite of courses on the FutureLearn platform.

Register for free to join a global community of learners, connect with like-minded professionals and sustainable development advocates from around the world and study with some of the top experts in the field. 

In 2023 RMIT Europe is celebrating the significant milestone of its 10-year anniversary of operations in Barcelona. To learn about RMIT's history in Europe and keep up with the latest news and events, visit the #RMITEurope10 webpage and follow RMIT Europe on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.


Story: Hannah Tribe

EIT Urban Mobility and EU logos


  • Sustainability
  • Society
  • Urban Design
  • RMIT Europe
  • Education
  • Environment

Related News

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.