Adverse health effects caused by air pollution are increasingly being recognised and debated at national and international level. Knowle West Media Centre is currently working with communities in East Bristol to gather air quality data using sensor technology to see what can be done to tackle the problem of poor air quality at a local level.
Who got involved?
As part of the REPLICATE Project, a five-year EU-funded initiative exploring how digital technologies can improve quality of life and reduce co2 emissions, Knowle West Media Centre ran several community events in Bristol where citizens and community organisations could discuss the issues affecting the area.
We discovered that lots of people wanted to find out more about air quality in Bristol – in particular the effect that air pollution is having on their health and where the cleanest air is in Bristol.
Three groups that were particularly concerned about air quality were: cyclists, schoolchildren and their parents, and taxi drivers.
Another group who contacted KWMC directly to get involved were social housing tenants in Bristol suffering from asthma since moving into a new housing development.
Find out more about why people got involved with the project in the video below:
How did they sense the problem?
Each of the groups took part in issue-based, co-design* and making sessions to identify the details of the problem, what data they wanted to collect and how to go about it.
KWMC worked with artist Becca Rose and community organiser Zoe Banks Gross to plan and facilitate these sessions.
See what happened in one of our sensor making workshops in the video below:
What was created?
Each group developed ideas for how the sensors could be cased, what a data journal might look like, and how the data collected could be viewed. Becca then worked with KWMC’s digital manufacturing space, KWMC: The Factory, to create cases and paper journals that incorporated designs and drawings from the groups.
A mix of air quality sensors are going to be tested by the school children, taxi drivers and cyclist groups.
A team of researchers and technologists also came together as part of this project, including Ben Gaster and Kev Kirkland and developed data and sensing tools and kits for future sensing projects; including the UWE sense boards and Data Unity
Find out more about how the UWE Sense air quality sensors work in the video below:
What was the result?
The project is ongoing, but so far:
People learnt how to build sensors
Groups are feeling more actively involved in the problem
Awareness is being raised about the impact of the problem
New sensing tools are being developed
The Bristol Approach to citizen sensing inspired Sam Prince to begin working with air quality sensors – find out more in the video below:
This project was developed as part of The REPLICATE Project, a five-year European initiative linking Bristol with Florence and San Sebastian. The REPLICATE Project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691735.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 691735.
Prototype sensors used in the air quality project were developed with support from the Computer Science Research Centre at the University of the West of England (UWE)