As part of the AirKit project, Citizen Sense hosted an online air-quality workshop with citizens in Forest Hill, London (SE23) in October 2020. The workshop included members of the Clean Air SE23 community group, representatives of the Dalmain School, and Lewisham council members.

Citizen Sense first gave an overview of the prototype monitoring resources in production for the AirKit toolkit, including the Dustbox 2.0 air-quality monitor, the AirKit Logbook, and the Airsift data analysis platform. We then reviewed our process of collaboratively identifying monitoring locations in late October 2019, and setting up monitors in Forest Hill beginning in late January 2020 and early February 2020.

People based in SE23 had monitored air quality using the Dustbox 2.0 monitor for a period of several months. We met to discuss findings from the citizen data, which were significantly impacted by the first national lockdown due to Covid. We walked through two draft Data Stories and examined how the citizen sensing indicated that particulate matter levels were relatively low, and were generally below the WHO 24-hour mean threshold. However, despite possible reductions in air pollution due to the lockdown, patterns in the citizen data did indicate elevated pollution levels related to traffic, as well as periods of elevated pollution due to regional emissions from Europe.

Community groups and local council members discussed the campaigns they are working on to improve green infrastructure and reduce traffic emissions. These projects include campaigns for tree planting, community events to support cycling, and initiatives to discourage vehicles idling at local schools. Council representatives also outlined current schemes to implement traffic calming and improve air quality, including School Streets and the Catford Master Plan, in addition to Transport for London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).

A key aspect of the workshop involved discussing the data in further depth to identify possible emissions sources and to generate action points. We incorporated these ideas into the final Covid Data Stories.

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