On 14th April 2016 Louise posted in News
It’s 10 am on Wednesday, 2nd of March, and a cold wind is bringing dark clouds. The menace of bad weather does not discourage Tina. She comes out with a ladder, a bag full of diffusion tubes to measure nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air, a notebook and a map of the neighbourhood. Some other neighbours join her in the street for a picture.
Smile! Let’s start the work!
Air pollution levels in UK cities are much worse than many of us realise. London, unsurprisingly, is no exception. Mapping for Change have been working with residents in the Barbican Estate, City of London, to measure air quality levels since October 2013. To celebrate our achievements, we have produced a short documentary about the project processes, and our shocking findings.
Four communities across London took part in a month long citizen science project supported by Mapping for Change. The aim of ‘Clean Up London Air’ was to monitor and map Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution levels in both quiet residential areas selected by the local residents and adjacent roads with heavy passing traffic during the month of July. The four areas involved in the project, Latimer Road, Camden, Islington and Crystal Palace can be viewed on the Air Quality Community Map.
On 8th September 2014 Louise posted in Featured
Sunny days throughout August have found Mapping for Change at the Swiss Cottage Farmers Market, a great venue for meeting local residents as they browse the colourful produce stalls and have leisurely lunch or coffee breaks in the market square. So far it has been a refreshing experience with so many people saying how much they like the area and are genuinely happy with their neighbourhood and excellent local facilities:
“There is the Hampstead Theatre, Swiss Cottage Community Centre, the Leisure Centre, Library and Cinema all within a stone’s throw of my flat – there is always somewhere to go and something to do, its like living on the edge of paradise.”
Taking a walk every day is critical for health and well-being. Local residents share with us their cleverly devised routes that avoid the steepest hills that characterise the area:
I walk everywhere, to Waitrose daily and to Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath, I do contouring to avoid the hills.
Whilst showing a resident how to use a particulate air quality monitor, he told me that he would “never walk in Beech Street Tunnel again”. This statement was based on his involvement in Science in the City, a citizen science project that we are currently running to support communities to measure and map air quality. Based on the data gathered by the local community, between October 2013 and February 2014, this particular resident decided that there are cleaner, ‘healthier‘ and less polluted routes he could take to and from his home. When we at Mapping for Change are asked what impact our work has, or how involving non-professional scientists in community based scientific research makes a difference – I guess here’s the answer! This chap might even live an extra few years – who knows!!