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Co-Innovating Citizen Science Experiments In Athens

Citizen science activities in the Athens pilot are based on the methodology outlined in the co-innovation report. In the first year of the project, two workshops were organised by the lead team from DAEM. In the first workshop, where the Carbon Footprint Simulation Dashboard (CO2 Calculator) was presented, the audience stated their preferences in terms of functionalities, tools and operations to be included in the tool, while in the second workshop mock-ups of the current development were presented, which received many useful comments and suggestions for improvement.

 

Citizen science co-creation in Athens

Urban value chain

Additionally, in these workshops, participants and stakeholders from the quadruple helix were present. Attending the first workshop were mainly citizens of Athens, city officials, employees of the municipality and academic partners. By contrast, the second workshop was mostly attended by the participants of the Samos Summit 2022, including IT students, professors and academics from the field of digital governance. Both events allowed DAEM to collect useful feedback through structured questions on Mentimeter, as well as via open discussion.  

 

The process

The same co-creation approach was followed in the recently concluded ‘open round’ during which sensors were distributed to volunteers. Initially, meetings and discussions were held with city officials and the administrative personnel of Friendship Clubs. With their help, volunteers were identified, which included senior citizens. The engagement process was as follows:

  • Meetings with citizens to share information on pilot objectives, planned activities, and the role and contribution of citizen scientists

  • The recruitment process and benefits for citizen volunteers

  • Distribution of sensors   

  • Training sessions on sensors’ functionalities and operation

 

Participation challenge

COMPAIR’s scope and objectives promote behavioural change in citizens as regards energy consumption and daily activities that influence air pollution. It is a challenge to convince citizens to participate in a pilot project by installing sensors at home, by co-designing a dashboard or by using an application. Citizens usually need to be convinced of the added value of their contribution before they can fully commit to a project.

 

Synergies

The Athens pilot in COMPAIR coincides with a number of initiatives and projects launched by DAEM and the Municipality of Athens on environmental issues and more specifically on air quality. In particular, currently there are three research projects (CODE Europe, COMPAIR and UrbanReleaf) that DAEM participates in, and which provide convergence, collaboration and synergy necessary to improve air quality in Athens. Each project provides a different level of complementarity with COMPAIR, and each is also different in terms of research and methodology. 

 

When it comes to CODE Europe, the convergence will mostly take place at the level of policy creation. The project’s outputs are considered by DAEM when elaborating policies through COMPAIR’s CO2 Calculator. The synergy with UrbanReleaf occurs at the level of data on air quality and urban spaces which will be shared between both projects. All these activities are helping to co-innovate citizen science experiments in Athens.

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