Lungs of the City

A chance to open our eyes to the power of nature on our doorstep.

‘Lungs of the City’ is a challenge to take photographs (or create art) of the trees within Portsmouth – to open our eyes and see nature’s ability to recover from man-made development in our own neighborhood. You are invited to start taking photographs now, so click here for a few practical tips:

Urban trees are often referred to as the “lungs of the city” because of their ability to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Trees provide numerous benefits to urban environments, including improving air quality, reducing noise pollution, and providing shade.

The impact that spending time in natural spaces has on supporting good mental health and wellbeing has long been known. Hippocrates stated that “Nature itself is the best physician” over 2000 years ago, yet much of the

The UK population live in densely populated urban areas which have a reduced access to natural green spaces.


Portsmouth is the second most densely populated city in the UK and has tree canopy coverage of just 9.8 %, yet there are approximately 86,500 trees in total across Portsmouth of which roughly 8,581 are street trees*. Last year Portsmouth was one of 19 cities in the UK to receive special recognition as a Tree City of the World for their commitment to effective urban forestry management and has begun a programme of community planting projects, with over 5000 new trees planted within the community*.

How to get involved

  • To highlight the importance of trees to our mental and physical health, we are planning an exhibition of Lungs of the City in October during the Mental Wealth Festival.
  • Actively take time to explore the area around Portsmouth where you live and take photographs of what the trees mean to you.
  • Send the photographs to us and enclose the What3Words location so we can follow your progress.
  • The collection of photographs will be published as a free on-line photo book, and a selection of these will be exhibited during the Mental Wealth Festival in October.

Have a look on Google Earth for Green Spaces near you.

Submit photographs to

View submitted photos here