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Promoting Urban Innovation with Citizen Science at #SCEWC23

For three consecutive days 7-9 November 2023 Fira Barcelona buzzed with action. 25,300 people from more than 800 cities representing over 140 countries descended on the area for the 12th edition of the Smart City Expo World Congress. COMPAIR was there too, promoting its vision of citizen centric smart cities to an international audience of urban innovators. We had 4 opportunities to showcase our ideas and results.


Belgian Pavillion

At the Belgian Pavillion, we shared a booth with Telraam, a traffic-sensor provider, whose devices are used in several pilot cities, including Herzele where our citizen science campaigns are helping the municipality to assess the effectiveness of a school street. Passers-by showed a lot of interest in the sensor and the use case, especially after seeing how easy it is to make sense of citizen science data with the right dashboard and visualisations.


COMPAIR-Telraam booth in the Belgian Pavillion

COMPAIR-Telraam booth in the Belgian Pavillion


Central Agora

Martine Delannoy of Digital Vlaanderen presented COMPAIR at a session on 'EDIC – A Game Changer For Smart Communities' which took place on 7 November in Central Plaza. The side event explained what EDIC is (European Digital Infrastructure Consortium) and its relevance for member states, regions, and cities’ policy development. One of EDIC objectives is to amplify and replicate project achievements, and our main one is, as emphasized by Marine, the contribution to climate-resilient development:


COMPAIR is helping cities to more rapidly achieve net zero by leveraging Citizen Science, low-cost sensors and new digital technologies while leaving no one behind. By combining different data sources (air quality, traffic counts) and presenting analytics in an intuitive way, we help citizens and city planners to get a well-rounded view of impacts and make decisions based on facts.

Martine Delannoy presenting COMPAIR in Central Plaza

Martine Delannoy presenting COMPAIR in Central Plaza


EU Booth

COMPAIR participated in the joint representation of the European Commission “EC Initiatives on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities.” On 8 November Lieven Raes, COMPAIR coordinator and an advisor at Digital Vlaanderen, presented the project during a panel discussion on digitalisation. He drew audience’s attention to the fact that government managed reference-grade monitoring stations provide average picture of air quality for a region. The added value of calibrated citizen science data is that you can understand the situation in urban microenvironments and hard-to-reach inner city areas. Lieven concluded by sharing our vision:


We would like to see a future where Citizen Science data is an integral part of decision making, from local policies to EU data spaces. COMPAIR results are contributing to this vision.

Lieven Raes presenting COMPAIR at the EU Booth

Lieven Raes presenting COMPAIR at the EU Booth


A few hours later we had a 90-minute networking slot at the booth. We used this opportunity to talk to new people about COMPAIR. We had good conversations with participants from Lithuania, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, France, and Finland, to name just a few countries. Quite a few were interested in replicating our results in their city either because of air quality concerns or they agree that citizen science is a great vehicle for citizen engagement. If you share this conviction, reach out to see how we can help your city become smarter and more inclusive.

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