Digitalization of information and ubiquitous sensing in cities are enabling the collection of data at unprecedentedly high temporal and spatial resolutions. However, these data are most often not accessible or are too cumbersome for citizens to engage with. This is particularly the case for urban environmental and health data. Thus, in most cases, urban environmental data fail to reach the public audience and citizens are unable to understand the effect of their urban routines on their health and well-being. Making urban health and environmental data accessible to citizens, would induce urban behavioral changes that could substantially improve the well-being of citizens and the livability of cities in general.
The Cityreader project is composed by a multidisciplinary team of designers, engineers, and environmental scientists working on the development of urban data sensing and visualization technologies. Our mission is to make urban data accessible and available to improve the well-being of citizens. In the past few years, we have developed various mobile sensing and urban environmental data visualization platforms to acquire and visualize urban environmental and health data to high spatiotemporal resolutions. Traditionally, urban data have been collected through fixed measuring stations. However, this method has proven to be too scattered to understand the strong environmental gradients that characterize urban environments. Cityreader makes use of mobile urban sensing technologies to collect high spatio-temporal urban environmental data affordably and efficiently. Cityreader has produced custom-designed autonomous weather and air quality stations that can be easily mounted onto any mobile platform such as buses or private vehicles that move through the city, covering a large urban extent. The resulting environmental data have far-superior spatial resolutions than traditional fixed environmental stations. Cityreader enables the visualization of the collected data in real-time through mobile and web apps, thus informing public institutions, companies and citizens and empowering them to make environmentally-responsible urban planning decisions or to improve their everyday life.