Citizen engagement tools and techniques

Different things appeal to different audiences. With this in mind, ClairCity tailored our approaches when working with different groups and in different contexts. In addition to traditional methods (surveys, workshops) we partnered with local organisations to hold distributed dialogues in community spaces. We also worked with educators to produce schools resources, with developers to produce games and Apps for young adults and tech fans, and with older people to produce films documenting their lived experience of air pollution. These mixed methods ensured a full spectrum of engagement approaches were deployed, maximising our chances of reaching both the general population and more vulnerable groups. As a result, over 8,000 people got involved across Europe, and we had over 770,000 social media impressions (see below).

During our engagements we asked participants about their current behavioural practices as well as their preferred future behaviours and policies for the city in 2030/2050. We opened up for discussion on the gap between their present and future behaviours (if there is one) and what would be required to close the gap.

If you would like to learn more about our approach and how it can support your campaigning then download our community activator pack (high resolution copies of all reports and graphics available upon request):

Community Activator Pack         Visual Evaluation Report         Evaluation Summary Report

 film camera

Traditional techniques

A total of 4,887 citizens participated in ClairCity’s Delphi process. Each city and region conducted surveys, on- and offline, followed by additional face-to-face workshops.

During the process, citizens were challenged to think about their behaviours – “If you want to change, what are the reasons why you can’t currently?”. Subsequently they explored difficult policy options and discussed how they could be made easier. For example, a common behaviour citizens wished to change in Liguria was driving – many are willing to drive less. A possible policy measure is to introduce a ban on all private diesel and petrol vehicles from the city centre. According to citizens, to compensate for the elimination of the private vehicle from the roads it would be essential to have frequent public transport and on all the time slots.

Striving for representivity, partner organisations in each case study region defined groups that were likely to be under-represented in their sample, and used their resources and networks to ensure more effort was put into recruiting these groups. For example, this involved street surveys in a region to neighbourhood with a higher non-Dutch population in Amsterdam, attending community festivals in poorer neighbourhoods in Bristol, and using connections through the network of local authorities across the Aveiro spread the survey to a non-urban public.

As a result, the project was able to pool together the collective knowledge and experience of a broad range of local people’s travelling and home heating habits and the opportunities and problems faced in their cities or regions.

Are you a researcher, policy maker or organisation interested in how you can make use of our process in your work? Then click on one of the following:

Health or Sustainability Organisation          Policy Maker          Researcher

Schools Engagement

Part One
Part Two

We engaged more than 1,500 young people directly during the engagement process, with hundreds of thousands so far reached online and through our downloadable schools resources. We’ve been featured in the British Science Associations annual British Science Week schools pack (primary in 2019 and secondary in 2020) and have resources on Sustainable Learning’s website.

All our resources are now available in this handy Educator Pack! Please download and share widely. If you would like a high resolution copy then get in touch.

Find out more:



Community Films

We used the power of film to convey the lived experience of vulnerable communities and to showcase how fun sustainable modes of transport can be! 1,000s of people viewed our YouTube videos and the producer of “Anemmu in bici a Zena” – a Ligurian film about cycling, even won an award!

Check out our YouTube page for more information!

Video’s aren’t the only way to capture marginalised voices. Read our Community Activator pack to find out what other approaches you can take, or click the link below!

Community Activator

Public events

Each city and region attended or hosted events. Talks were given in auditoriums, on the streets and at festivals. Read page 10 of the Community Activator Pack below to find out the pros and cons of different event approaches, and page 10 for a handy events guide. Our blog has some great summaries about specific events – check it out!

Air quality management app

Citizens want access to health and environmental data and apps like ours – GreenAnt – help facilitate this access.

GreenAnt is a free app for mobiles (Apple and Android) alongside a web system that allows you to become a citizen scientist, through monitoring your own and others’ transport activities. Utilising GPS data, you simply let the app run in the background while you get around the city.

Collect data with friends, colleagues, or use as a tool to improve the health of your staff or fellow citizens. The more citizens there are collecting data, the richer the picture we can build about air quality in the city. By making visible the invisible, we can begin to make changes to how we travel.

Log your data collection area online – and download the app for Apple or Android. For video instructions on how to play: Step 1 and 2, and Step 3.

Mobile decision-making game

ClairCity Skylines allows citizens to step inside the shoes of the Mayor and decide which policy measures you think will keep the city alive and thriving into the future. It is currently available for the six partner cities and regions involved in ClairCity but the concept can easily be adapted for other places. Explore the game if available in your language, or consider using our analogue version available in our Educator Pack (see link above) to get citizens to understand the tradeoffs that have to be made when taking decisions about the future. Choices will inform the ClairCity project about policy making research into air pollution. Get in touch if your city is interested in their own ClairCity Skyline. Available on iOS and Android.

Press the button… you know you want to!

Tech Lover

Social media

Social media formed a big part of the ClairCity project. We had our main Twitter and Facebook page, and many of our partners also had pages – in Liguria they also had Instagram. On our main sites, we had over 1,350 followers on Twitter, and 401 on the Facebook. During the course of the project this resulted in over 770,000 social media impressions.

We used these platforms to share news, our findings and resources among community groups, cities and regions. Some of our most successful posts were for our infographics (linked below) and the findings from our research. You can read more about the findings in our reports section.