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Smart Citizen

A kit and platform which engages citizens in solving local environmental problems.

With the Arduino-enabled Smart Citizen Kit, citizens can record real-time environmental data which can then be used for research, analysis and, eventually, citizen-led solutions to environmental problems. The Smart Citizen Platform connects data, people and knowledge for researchers, schools, citizen science, communities, cities and developers to collectively address environmental problems in cities.

Smart Citizen is a project which seeks to engage citizens, communities, cities, developers and researchers in collectively addressing environmental problems in cities such as light, noise and air pollution.

There are two main strands to the project: the Smart Citizen Kit, a low-cost set of tools which uses Arduino technology to allow citizens to collect environmental data on light and sound intensity, temperature, humidity and concentrations of CO and NO2 in the air. This data is then transmitted by wifi to a server where aggregated data can be researched and analysed. The Kit can be built upon by users to measure other environmental factors.

The second strand, the Smart Citizen Platform, lets researchers, schools, communities, citizens, cities and developers connect with each other and with data to generate participatory processes and tools to address environmental problems in cities. At its heart is an API to connect data and users, a GitHub repository of open-source software and a forum for discussion and ideas.

The project was originally developed within the Fab Lab Barcelona at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia and crowdfunded via the Goteo and Kickstarter crowdfunding platforms.

There are currently hundreds of Smart Citizen Kits around the world, with the highest concentration in Europe. The data collected from the Kits has been used by universities including the Architectural Association, University College London and the University of Glasgow, and been used in smart citizen projects, sometimes in collaboration with city authorities, in Kosovo, Amsterdam, Manchester and Barcelona. The project is also committed to furthering education and provides a way for young people to learn about their environment. Working with Future Everything, for example, Smart Citizen organised five workshops in Salford, England which introduced children to concepts such as sensors, data and computational thinking.

Image: Smart Citizen

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