The new book by Mark Nieuwenhuijsen and Haneen Khries “Integrating Human Health into Urban and Transport Planning” have just come out. The Mark and Haneen approached me with a request for a chapter on community-led air quality monitoring, and this provided an opportunity to join forces with Irene Eleta, who was doing her Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship in Barcelona and London, looking at aspects of citizen science and air quality. Irene is coming from a background in Human-Computer Interaction and studied the way Mapping for Change was carrying out monitoring in Somers Town, next to UCL.
In this chapter, we allowed ourselves to mix styles – part of the chapter is written in the common style of descriptive academic writing, but as we wanted to provide the fuller experience of the participants, Irene provides a more literary, diary-style description of the monitoring process itself. The chapter abstract is:
In this chapter, we explore the potential of community-led air quality monitoring. Community-led air quality monitoring differs from top-down monitoring in many aspects: it is focused on community needs and interests and a local problem and, therefore, has a limited geographical coverage as well as limited temporal coverage. However, localised air quality monitoring can potentially increase the spatial and temporal resolution of air quality information if there is a suitable information-sharing mechanism in place: information from multiple community-led activities can be shared at the city scale and used to augment official information. At the core of the chapter, we provide a detailed experiential description of the process of urban air quality practice, from which we draw our conclusion. We suggest that accessible and reliable community-led air quality monitoring can contribute to the understanding of local environmental issues and improve the dialogue between local authorities and communities about the impacts of air pollution on health and urban and transport planning.
And you can read the chapter here – Haklay & Eleta, 2019, on the Front Line of Community-Led Air Quality Monitoring