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Pollution Explorers

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Pollution Explorers is a participatory project in which people make sense of the quality of air in their environment through their innate subjective perception using wearable technology and air quality sensors. The aim is to consider how citizens might make sense of the complex issues around air quality and explore our collective agency and capacity in tackling air pollution through both holistic and hyperlocal interventions. Through the engagement, participants make a statement on the air quality with their own physical actions of recording perceptual data using the wearable tools, help to fill in missing ‘gaps’ of air quality data in order to make sense of the quality of air in their neighbourhood and devise collective pledges that they can commit to helping tackle air quality issues for a period of time.

Over the past 6 months, we worked with a total of 90 participants (children, young adults, parents, activists and city officials) where they pollution explore in their neighbourhoods in London, Macclesfield and Brussels using technological tools. The project has proven that people’s ability to assess the quality of air compared to the digital sensors is fairly high in some instances and a high percentage of participants have shown dedication in committing to an action to tackle air quality for a period of time in their everyday life. These are important findings from which participating residents and other cities can benefit greatly. Pollution Explorers is part of a large air quality initiative that we have been doing over the past 2 years, through the learnings, we aim to improve on our tools and work with more communities on pollution exploring in their neighbourhoods and cities.

Pollution Explorers is a project led by Ling Tan of Umbrellium and funded by Vertigo STARTS.

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