Air pollution affects all regions of the world. However, population in low-income cities are the most impacted. According to the latest air quality database, 97 per cent of cities in low- and middle- income countries with more than 100,000 inhabitants do not meet World Health Organization (WHO) air quality guidelines. Due to the high price and sophistication of air quality monitoring devices, most cities in developing countries have poor or inexistent air quality monitoring system. Low cost air quality measuring devices are becoming available. Understanding the limitations of these type of devices in comparison to high-end exemplars regarding data accuracy and coverage, they could become an powerful way of collecting data and involving the local population while doing it.
The Urban Pathways Project is involved in several sustainable urban mobility projects in developing countries, which have a great potential in terms of improving air quality and reducing noise in urban areas. Measuring the specific effects of the demonstration activities on these variables will be invaluable in quantifying the impact of the projects’ activities and thus the potential impact that replication and scaling-up of those measures could have at the local and national level, and ultimately at the global scale.
In this context, a partnership with Open-seneca, a UK-based organisation, whose goal is to transfer knowledge on how to build open-source sensor hardware to raise awareness and initiate a behavioural change among local communities has been established. Open-seneca uses affordable, off-the-shelf particulate matter sensors, geo location, and wireless transmission modules for their devices. The collected data is displayed on dynamic maps on their online platform for identification of pollution hotspots. The sensor design is co-creation-based and tailored to local requirements to achieve a globally compatible and locally appropriate sensor.
At the same time, makerspaces have been identified in UP cities as potential local partners that could carry out the assembly workshops on-site based on the knowledge transfer received from Open-seneca. Makerspaces are small-scale workshops that provide widespread access to modern means for invention / digital fabrication. Activities range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research.
Open-seneca will provide a virtual seminar to previously identified local makerspaces, universities or research centres in UP cities that have the skills and interest to build AQ measuring devices and that would be willing to replicate the workshops on site. After the training on how to build AQ sensors, UP cities will be invited to participate in a second webinar that will show the possible uses of the devices based on the experiences of other cities.
On Wednesday, April 8th 2020 at 15:00 (CET): How can low-cost, open-source and easy-to-use Air Quality Sensors be used to support sustainable urban development policies?
Target audience: urban practitioners and policy makers working in the sustainable urban mobility, air quality monitoring, impact assessment fields.
Registrations are possible via the following link.