Do you want to do research together in your neighbourhood, district or municipality? Citizen Science is becoming increasingly popular and that is not so strange. The technological possibilities of sensors to measure air, water, noise, or soil quality are increasing and the price of sensors is falling. In addition, residents are more actively involved in their own living environment and take the initiative themselves to collect data with which they can provide insight into urban issues.
Citizen science relates to all types of research/experiments by citizens in which data is collected and analysed. This can be done in many different ways. What is new is that (relatively cheap) sensors are used in many projects to collect data. Examples are Snuffelfiets, Telraam, Curious Noses, Meet je stad and Hollandsche Luchten. In one project the emphasis is on making and understanding the sensor and in other projects the emphasis is more on easy participation of residents.
Measurement leads to data. Collecting, unlocking and understanding data can be an important objective of citizen science projects. Increasing awareness about factors that affect air quality, or gaining insight into the effect of a road diversion on traffic flows, helps to have an equal and constructive discussion about the design and management of public space. If you better understand the causes of a problem, it is easier to look for solutions together.
Successful citizen science projects do not only focus on technology and data but pay a lot of attention to communication and community building. It takes time and energy to keep people engaged, share knowledge, and analyze the data. Clarity about expectations, collaboration with students and researchers and openness about the approach and data collection help in this regard.
WeCity is involved in several citizen science projects. The WeCity catalog describes various sensors from partners that are suitable for use in citizen science projects. Together with the province of Utrecht, we are working on a "self service portal" to support citizen science projects from start to finish. From selection to implementation and management. With a link to Samen Meten van RIVM, access via a sensor registry, and testing for privacy aspects (DPIA). If necessary, WeCity, in collaboration with partners, can support the collection, processing and disclosure of the data.