How Can Urban Policies Improve Air Quality and Help Mitigate Global Climate Change: a Systematic Mapping Review

Anne Dorothée Slovic, Maria Aparecida de Oliveira, João Biehl, Helena Ribeiro

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    32 Scopus citations


    Tackling climate change at the global level is central to a growing field of scientific research on topics such as environmental health, disease burden, and its resulting economic impacts. At the local level, cities constitute an important hub of atmospheric pollution due to the large amount of pollutants that they emit. As the world population shifts to urban centers, cities will increasingly concentrate more exposed populations. Yet, there is still significant progress to be made in understanding the contribution of urban pollutants other than CO2, such as vehicle emissions, to global climate change. It is therefore particularly important to study how local governments are managing urban air pollution. This paper presents an overview of local air pollution control policies and programs that aim to reduce air pollution levels in megacities. It also presents evidence measuring their efficacy. The paper argues that local air pollution policies are not only beneficial for cities but are also important for mitigating and adapting to global climate change. The results systematize several policy approaches used around the world and suggest the need for more in-depth cross-city studies with the potential to highlight best practices both locally and globally. Finally, it calls for the inclusion of a more human rights-based approach as a mean of guaranteeing of clean air for all and reducing factors that exacerbate climate change.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)73-95
    Number of pages23
    JournalJournal of Urban Health
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Health(social science)
    • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
    • Urban Studies


    • Air pollution
    • Air quality control
    • Climate change
    • Megacities
    • Public policy
    • Urban health
    • Vehicle emissions


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