CoGREEN: Citizen Scientists-led Demonstration of the Multiple Co-Benefits of Green Infrastructure Intervention along the Road-Facing School Perimeter

Funded by Reclaiming Forgotten Cities - Turning cities from vulnerable spaces to healthy places for people (RECLAIM) under the “Urban Greenspace and People Call”.

Start date

January 2023

End date

December 2023


CoGREEN project will see concerned members of the local community, local environmental charity ZERO, Borough councillor, and world-renowned academic professionals from the field of air pollution with a proven track record of promoting inclusive citizen science projects via Guildford Living Lab (GLL), working together with children, parents, and staff at a primary school in the heart of Guildford. The aim is to construct an aesthetically pleasing nature-based green infrastructure along the road-facing perimeter of the school, together with educational messages to try to instigate behavioural change in the passers-by, and to investigate how it impacts air pollution, noise levels and air temperature in the playground and classrooms, and how the intervention affects biodiversity and anecdotal wellbeing in and around the school.

Objectives and methodology

CoGREEN project aims to co-design and install a GI intervention at Sandfield Primary School in Guildford, which will be achieved, through the following specific objectives:

  • Co-designing and installing an aesthetically pleasing GI along the road-facing perimeter of the school, as the demonstration site.
  • Assessing the multi-benefits of GI by monitoring the air quality, noise levels, thermal comfort, and change in wellbeing perception.
  • Evaluate the transferability and replicability of implemented GI to other schools.
  • Developing citizen-science activities to engage children with GI installation.
  • Creating scientific evidence and database for developing public-facing recommendations and as a feed for RECLAIM Network Plus GBGI database.


CoGREEN is structured around following four Tasks:

Task 1: Co-design and implementation of GI demonstration site

The GI intervention will be co-designed by CoGREEN team members and will be installed around the school boundary, facing busy roads. Each team member will play an important role in the intervention study; Schools (estate considerations), Parent group (aesthetics and designing evidence-based educational messages), Zero Carbon Guildford (sourcing the hedge installation materials and climate messaging), and Surrey researchers (technical knowledge).

Task 2: Pre- and Post-installation monitoring

Air quality (PM, particle number concentration, black carbon, CO, CO2), noise levels, temperature, relative humidity, bioaerosols, traffic, and local meteorological data will be monitored before and after installing the GI for 2-4 weeks, both behind and in-front of GI. Research-grade instruments will be used to procure high-resolution and high-quality data. Greening perception surveys around aesthetics and wellbeing will be shared among the parents (and children).

Task 3: Data analysis, reporting and database preparation

The data will be processed in the set format for the RECLAIM GBGI database. A high-quality scientific publication and a technical report will be prepared with active participation of all stakeholders in the form of their feedback. An artist will convert the key findings into messages that will be displayed on top of GI on a hardboard, facing the road to influence the behaviour of passers-by. These messages will also be shared by the Headteacher, with students to make them the ambassadors of the change.

Task 4. Citizen-science and wider engagement

As young scientists, students will be involved in the monitoring process. We will leverage our GLL experience to design playful learning activities to raise awareness. An additional signature green wall will be installed and nurtured by students. This way, the wall will act like a living workshop for students to interact with nature-based solutions. A range of behavioural interventions will be co-designed and implemented by the school community to improve school outdoor air quality.


CoGreen project has been funded by the UKRI-funded RECLAIM Network Plus Grant No. EP/W034034/1.

Funding amount




Kate Collins

Head Teacher, Sandfield Primary School, Guildford)

Dr Ana Paula Mendis Emygdio

GCARE, University of Surrey

Christina Higgins

GCARE PhD Student, University of Surrey

Dr Bing Huo

University of Surrey

Professor Prashant Kumar

GCARE, University of Surrey

Uweis Nassor

PhD student, University of Surrey

Nidhi Rawat

GCARE PhD student, University of Surrey

Partner organisations/groups

Kate Alger

Parent group, Sandfield Primary School

Paul Cartwright

Community Group

Kate Collins

Sandfield Primary School

Ben McCallan

Zero Carbon Guildford

Cait Taylor

Local councillor

Research themes

Find out more about our research at Surrey: