Air pollution is estimated to cause over 4,000 premature deaths in London every year. The severe reality of air pollution is generally much worse than most of us are aware. Citizen Science initiatives are one ways to take action in your local area.
Science in the City is a project that is being carried out with residents in the Barbican and Mansell Street, in the City of London. Residents are using low-tech tools to measure Nitrogen Dioxide and particulates.
Commissioned by the City of London, Mapping for Change are providing support and training to enable communities to measure and map air quality. We are also responsible for data analysis and visualisation.
By collecting this data locally, communities have been able to raise awareness and develop strategies and solutions for mediating the negative impact of air pollution.
Community groups made the decision to digitise the data on our Community Maps platform. You can see the findings here.
Dust Storm Mapping – April 2014
A dust cloud caused massive spikes in air pollution during April 2014. Use of hand-held particulate monitors captured the results.
Documentary: Barbican Air Quality Monitoring: A Beacon of Hope for Citizen Science
When this project was advertised around the estate, I thought, ‘that’s something I can get involved with that doesn’t take up a lot of my time’. It’s one of those things where, if you get lots of people doing a little bit, it adds up to something that’s big, and important.” Maggie Urry – Barbican Resident
See the documentary
Read the final report
In 2012, the Big Lottery Fund in England invested £1 million in 150 neighbourhoods for its Big Local initiative. Northfleet, Kent, was one of the first 50 to be selected. The grant aimed to equip local communities with skills and tools to identify key areas and issues where action was reqiored in their area.
Mapping for Change in collaboration with the Humanities Education Centre (HEC) and local specialist on learning and ‘place’ Maggie Hewitt, worked with three schools in Tower Hamlets (Columbia School Community Map, Arnhem Wharf School Community Map and John Scurr School Community Map) to pilot a brand new process in which Year 4 pupils develop personalised maps of their local area with their own likes, memories and views on change.
In 2009, Mapping for Change supported communities across London to measure and map local air quality. Use of a ‘citizen science’ approach meant local residents in seven locations were able to collect data, then see the real results of their monitoring activities, and subsequently embark on a campaign to see the serious results addressed.