Empowering families to act together and improve air quality in cities by creating educational programmes for the city youth.

We tackle the air pollution in cities by partnering with the biggest influencer in the system, the people. Particularly, kids and their parents. With this, we want to present a new way of making air quality tangible for people, that allows them to make change happen.

PROBLEM

Great technology and products have been developed to measure and improve air quality in cities. Everyone is are talking and acting to improve air quality in cities: governments, consulting and planning companies, research & funding institutions.

Still, in Copenhagen—the capital city ranked number two in Europe regarding the air quality—atmosphere pollution is responsible for 550 deaths, 28 premature deaths and 33,000 sick days a year, resulting in an annual cost of 4.5 billion DKK to the municipality (Københavns Kommune, 2018).

It is a fact that actions are being undertaken in cities, but it is evident that something is lacking to close the loop, the people, the ones directly affected, are not being involved.

But, why PEOPLE is not being involved?

  1. There are complex measurement models that only experts can interpret and use, there are apps and maps categorizing the general level of exposure. Not user friendly
  2. As air pollution is a very intangible aspect, not visible for the naked eye to the people, We have no idea how our daily lives and health are directly impacted by air pollution.
  3. People are therefore unaware and very little involved in air quality-related issues in their neighbourhood which also leads to slow political change.

COLLABORATORS

We want to tackle the air pollution in cities by partnering with the people, and in particular with kids and their parents.

As parents want the best for their kids and want to do EVERYTHING to make them safe and healthy. Kids are also the long term people in the city and air pollution will therefore be more costly to the society if not changed.

We want to facilitate to the municipalities the resident’s involvement in both, the air quality problems and solutions.

We want to collaborate and assist funding institutions to achieve their goals, such as European Environmental Agency, Clean Air Fund and the Bernard Van Leer Foundation.

SOLUTION

AIRCARES is a three-step solution where awareness, individual action and political change are enabled.

 

1.

Kids individual exposure to air pollution is measured

2.

Families are educated and empowered on the topic.

3.

Communities are given the tools to promote political change.

How?

With existing technology available for precise air quality measurements in a small sensor, we provide schoolchildren with easily constructible kits for an air quality measurement device during annual Danish one-week duration educational programmes on the topic of Air quality.

Air pollution is not tangible, not visible, how do I know if pollution affects me?

As most pollutants are invisible to the naked eye, we will make it visible by collecting data on kids and creating an educational programme concerning the topic of air pollution, whose goal would be to show the students and families the reality of the problem and how it directly impacts them on a day-to-day basis.

1. Aircares starts at school, by Creating awareness while playing and educating.

As for the activities at school, the students would have the means to familiarize themselves with how electronic devices work. Moreover, the pupils also would gain an understanding of how pollution affects the body and how our smart behaviours can create substantial positive effects. It will be a specially designed educational package that is easy for the teachers to understand and implement, requiring no financial cost for the educational institutions, as the programme would be pre-developed and facilitated to the educators.

In addition to this, the age groups that we would be working with would-be students aged   6-12 and students aged 13-18.  By dividing into two groups, we could adjust the complexity of the educational programmes in order to better fit the schools’ learning objectives.

Finally, after the students would have finished the device, they now would be equipped with portable air quality sensors, which would allow them to have air quality readouts during their daily routes in the city and in the places they visit and stay at throughout the day. The sensors would be connected to an app and a central cloud database, which would allow anyone to see local air contamination levels on a map of Copenhagen, and with precise measurements in hand, gain new insights into daily levels of exposure.

 

2. Aircares at home, where families become engaged to take individual actions and change behaviour. 

At the end of the educational programme, parents would be provided with user-friendly reports on the level of exposure their kids are experiencing in their daily lives. Benchmarking the exposure among different districts and neighbourhoods would be a possibility. A dialogue is likely to emerge, where kids could exchange knowledge with their parents. We anticipate that parents, who have lived longer in this world, would take notice and become engaged by being able to teach their children a few more things concerning the topic and by taking individual measures that reduce their kid’s levels of exposure.

 

3. Aircares in our neighbourhood, where conversations about air pollution are enabled and with just one click involvement generates political change.

In a democratic society, the politicians who are elected by the people are at the forefront of large-scale decision-making that impacts us all. The problem with applying solutions when only a large-scale overview of a region is available is that the solution might work for some but not for others. Our product would be one of the few undertakings to have precise, individual pollution information available over the areas of a city. By comparing different levels of exposure, parents create political pressure on the local governments to take a particular action in affected areas. Parents can request with one click to the municipality to take actions for improvement in particular areas.

 

Three unique value propositions offered by AIRCARES

1.

Assessment of kids individual-level exposure & the direct impact of air pollution on the people.

2.

Provides means for the family to educate themselves on the problem and gives recommendations to reduce daily exposure levels.

3.

Enables communities to create political change and to make cities act.

.

FINANCING OPTIONS

AirCares is meant to be a non-for-profit business model, where we would aim to finance the pilot project through grants and partnerships, considering institutions such as Clean Air Fund and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.

An initial cost of 1M DKK is estimated, which would cover one implementation of technology in the city + sensors + program design and operations. At year two, the undertaking could reach at least 10 other cities in the EU, with a 250K DKK franchise integrating the cost of the sensors + online platform. The programme could very well be adapted to other cities in the following years.

IMPACT

In the case of Copenhagen, 280K of 600k people would be reached in a year. In year two, if implemented in 10 cities in Europe, at least 2.5M people could be reached. What is more, this initiative would display a serious attitude towards initiating change & maintaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):

SDG3. Reduce the number of illnesses and deaths caused by air pollution and contamination.
SDG11. Reduce the per capita environmental impact of cities, including air quality.
SDG13. Integration of climate change measures into policies, strategies and planning
SDG15. Conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services.
SDG17. Encourage and promote effective public, public-private and civil society partnerships, building on the experience and resourcing strategies of partnerships; Data, monitoring and accountability.

TEAM

Our team brings together competences from the engineering and planning fields, and the human-centric approach. Our team is international and diverse and we are all based in Copenhagen. Our team is taking an interdisciplinary approach towards the problem, including direct experience on megacities urban life as pollution. We are highly engaged and motivated to bring a different perspective to such a major issue as air quality.

Jasper Vangsgaard

Msc in Service System Design at Aalborg University student

Jvangsgaard.design@gmail.com

Eva Kvist Campos

MEng. City and Regional Planning UiS / DTU

evapaolacampos@gmail.com

Liudvikas Launikonis

General Engineering DTU student

launikonis.liudvikas@gmail.com

 

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