According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is now the largest environmental cause of death. Data from 2016 confirms that 6.5 million people died in 2012 as a result of polluted air. Millions of people are relocating to major city-centres in hopes of finding better work, better education, and an overall improved quality of life. The current degree to which countries are embracing urbanization is greater than 80% in both North and Latin Americas, and more than 70% in Europe.
Globally, societies are working to change the way they think about their urban centers. Our team’s solution is to rethink modern urban planning and architecture, merging both form and function through the use of photocatalytic titanium dioxide and living walls, augmenting existing structures and providing a framework for new buildings as well as old to breathe alongside us, cleansing the air of toxic particulates.
By developing photocatalytic titanium dioxide coated facades for buildings, each structure will be able to offset more than one hundred cars worth of emissions each day. Photocatalytic titanium dioxide works through a chemical reaction with UV rays– meaning our buildings’ facades will react with sunlight to neutralise certain pollutants in the air, converting them into inert salts. These inert salts will wash away in the rain or simply disintegrate in the heat and wind of drier climates.
Our project is also dually pronged. We hope to reduce carbon emissions, but we also want to encourage cities to revitalize and renew their architecture, refitting old buildings with photocatalytic facades instead of traditional brick-and-mortar patch-ups. We will be targeting government buildings, such as metro stations, airports, and other lasting government institutions that are unlikely to be demolished. The facades also offer the added benefit of being self-cleaning and odour reducing: meaning buildings with Urban Atmosphere facades will require less upkeep over time. By focusing the technology in areas that are more populated, we will try to impact the most number of people, and also significantly minimize the carbon footprints of what will certainly become the most crowded urban areas in tomorrow’s megacities.