On 20th May Vera Rodrigues, one of ClairCity’s modellers from the University of Aveiro, participated in an initiative organized by the municipality of Oliveira de Azeméis to bring children into the conversation about climate change, and discuss what can be done about it.
The municipality has been proactive in tackling social-ecological issues, with an Adaptation Plan for Climate Change and an Education for Sustainability strategy. Under this framework, they organize an event every year called The Week for the Changing Climate (in Portuguese “Semana pelo Clima (S)Em Alteração”), in partnership with the Department of Environment and Planning of the University of Aveiro. This event aims to raise awareness and inform young people of climate change, its consequences, and the actions we should adopt to adapt and mitigate climate change.
Due to COVID, this year they needed to adapt, with the municipality, together with the high school Escola Soares de Basto, instead opting to organise four webinar sessions. In total 9 classes of approximately 210 students attended the sessions, from years 5 and 6 (9 – 12 year olds).
“My talk was about climate change, with a special focus on our actions to adapt and mitigate climate change,” explains Vera. “The title was inspired by our climate change infographic: A better future is possible – how will you play your part?”
“It was really interesting to notice the enthusiasm of this students! I think they are in a particular stage of their lives, where they are very curious and surprised about the situation. I had a lot of reactions about “is it still possible to control this problem”.“
During the ClairCity project Vera and her colleagues worked with a number of schools in the Aveiro Region to raise awareness of the health impacts of air pollution and climate change, and involve students, in the form of a school’s competition, in clean air and zero carbon decision making. One of the participating schools also attended these webinars, testament to the strong relationships developed throughout our engagement process.
If you are a young person or educator wishing to act on air pollution and climate change then head to our take action page.
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):
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
ClairCity is busy analysing policy ideas around the world that aim to reduce air pollution and improve the lives of urban residents. In this blog, we take a look at school-focused initiatives in the UK.
Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution – a study in London found that children living in more polluted areas had on average 5% less lung capacity. Breathing polluted air increases the frequency and severity of asthma attacks, and new evidence is suggesting there might be links to reduced brain development. Over a child’s lifetime, being exposed to air pollution also means they are more likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems.
What works to protect children?
Schools, as the place that children spend much of their time, are a key location to reduce air pollution.
The UK is not breaking new ground in this matter – in our partner city of Amsterdam, regulation already means that primary schools must be located at least 50m from a main road and 300m from a dual carriageway or motorway. Furthermore, more than 60% of Dutch children under the age of 12 walk or cycle to school. However, local authorities in the UK are starting to play catch-up by addressing traffic around schools and sustainable school travel.
Many schools across the UK are involved in campaigns to get families to switch engines off or encourage families to walk, cycle, take public transport or scoot to school to reduce the number of car journeys, improve road safety and improve the air quality around the school at crucial drop off and pick up times.
Research shows that thinking carefully about the distance families are travelling, and that ensuring local roads, parks and pavements give safe and attractive routes are crucial for the success of these interventions. Providing role models of “low polluting” behaviours and helping families feel confident with the skills and materials they need (apps that may help to find nicer walking routes, how to pump up bike tires…) are also important to guarantee that positive changes stick.
School Streets – the future?
Taking this a step further, School Streets initiatives restrict traffic from accessing the roads around schools at the start and end of the school day. This can include permanent or temporary road closures or restrictions on vehicles accessing key locations, obliging families to park further away or find alternative modes of transport. Councils in Edinburgh, Solihull and several London boroughs are already running School Streets programmes, with other cities and local authorities still considering the idea.
As School Streets involves changes to traffic management, council involvement is crucial. In the cities where School Streets are already running, the councils are using Experimental Traffic Management/Regulation Orders. This means they can test restrictions and incorporate feedback from the community, monitoring the impact on local traffic flows and residents.
School Streets can work for some locations, but within the existing schemes there are also limitations to its rollout. Hackney Council have released a “toolkit for professionals” showing details of their approach. Schools could not participate if they were on “traffic sensitive roads”, main roads or bus routes. Inevitably, this reduces the possibilities for schools where air pollution and traffic are more likely to be an issue, precisely because they are located on major transport routes.
The schemes usually include exemptions, for example for blue badge holders (people with disabilities), residents or businesses within the restricted area, and potentially utilities vehicles. Inevitably, the more exemptions there are, the smaller the difference that a School Streets zone will make, but this is also a balance between the requirements of other road users. There is also a cost involved: changing road signage or layout, and then through enforcement, whether through cameras or patrols.
Overall it is clear, children cannot protect themselves from air pollution and need families, schools, neighbourhoods, local authorities and road agencies to work together. Collaboration is key to ensuring a future for children with clean air.
21 marca 2019 w Sali Koncertowej “Muza” w Sosnowcu odbyła się Gala Dobrych Inicjatyw. Jest to coroczna impreza mająca na celu uhonorowanie osób, które na co dzień wpisują się w życie społeczności lokalnej Sosnowca.
Podczas tegorocznej gali ogłoszono zwycięzców konkursu dla szkół „Moje miasto, moja szkoła, mój dom” oraz konkursu filmowego dla seniorów. Przewodniczący Rady Miasta Mateusz Bochenek wręczył nagrody członkom zwycięskich zespołów oraz autorom filmików promujących ekologiczny sposób przemieszczania się.
We tested our online software with the ELTE Trefort Ágoston High School in Hungary. Six teams from the Trefort school played the interactive software with great success. The feedback from the teams was very positive they said they enjoyed the team activity and learnt a lot about how to make clean air and a healthy city.
Many thanks to the staff and teachers from Trefort for their time and enthusiasm.
As part of Bristol Walking Festival 2018, the ClairCity team put on our trainers and took a short but informative walk around central Bristol. Air Quality Officer Andrew Edwards from Bristol City Council led the walk, showing attendees how the council monitor the air, the issues facing the city and some tips on how to avoid and reduce the air pollution themselves.