The AiREAS philosophy is that every city takes its own health and air quality initiatives using the AiREAS cocreation format of civilian participation and institutional support. The first step of such Local AiREAS is to “make visible the invisible” in an open data platform and as closely as possible to the citizens.The higher AiREAS purpose is to co-create healthy cities together. By establishing uniformity in the measurement approach, with specialized scientific involvement and persuasive communication techniques, the AiREAS cities can focus on their own unique issues while benefitting from the shared experiences of the other towns in the network. The local spinoffs in social innovation, best practice and entrepreneurial activities can easily find inspiration and innovation also inside the other towns through our own triple “i” concept.
In the Netherlands the second local AiREAS became live yesterday, the third city to use the AiREAS innovative air measurement system.
Each of the three cities has its own unique approach:
Eindhoven: This city is where it all started in 2010 when the idea of concieved and received support from the local Province Noord Brabant. Eindhoven became the AiREAS living lab with measurement techniques as closely as possible to all the citizens. 32 low cost airboxes give near realtime (every 10 minutes) information about all kinds of air pollution patterns. Since the end of 2013 the experiences and cases are shared with all kinds of activities becoming visible in town. Fase 2 is also well on its way linking lifestyle and awareness with the exposure to pollution. AiREAS is continuously asked on podia in Europe to show its enormous innovative stimulous and the powerful results of human value driven, multidisciplinary co-creation with institutional participation instead of steering.
Helmond: This town is only 13 kilimoters away from Eindhoven so it benefits already from insights obtained through benchmarking but misses the civilian interaction and stimulus to cocreate and innovate. The city invested in one Airbox with the idea to rotate the equipment throughout town in order to get insight on pollution hotspots. One single measurement station needs to calibrate against something to be sure it provides still accurate information. This is done with Eindhoven giving background support.
Breda: This town is working with civilian participation and decided to add heat stress to the Local AiREAS Agenda as well as the relationship with “living in the city’s center” and the questions how to solve air pollution in relation to historic buildings. The choice was to combine 3 airboxes, strategically located to provide insight around the questions, with the additional two boxes in town that belong to the national network.
The experiences in Eindhoven were very welcome to define the route forward in Breda even though the city has a totally different layout and social interaction. For AiREAS it is very interesting to study all these variables (demographic, history, policy, local issues, citizen’s involvement, hierarchy driven or co-creation, etc).
This will of course become even more interesting when AiREAS is accepted by and deployed in other European cities as an accepted climate/air/health cocreation format with different cultures, climates, etc.