Public engagement project
Citizen-powered data ecosystems for inclusive and green urban transitions
£495,969 UKRI Innovate UK, Horizon Europe project value €4 463 982,50
Urban ReLeaf is a Horizon Europe Innovation Action under the Topic: CL6-2022-Governance-01-08 - Uptake and validation of citizen observations to complement authoritative measurement within the urban environment and boost related citizen engagement.
University of Dundee is funded by United Kingdom Research and Innovation (“UKRI”) Innovate UK to participate in the wider Horizon Europe collaborative project.
Urban ReLeaf is a new four year cross cultural EU project that aims to co-create citizen-powered data ecosystems to support climate change adaptation, green infrastructure, and urban design planning. The Horizon Europe-funded project builds on design-led research into citizen observatories being led by Professor Mel Woods, with Kevin Frediani and Dr Husam Al Waer from the University of Dundee. Urban ReLeaf is a collaboration between 15 academic and private sector partners as well as the cities of Athens (Greece), Cascais (Portugal) Dundee (UK), Mannheim (Germany), Riga (Latvia) and Utrecht (Netherlands).
The University team will collaborate with Dundee City Council to deliver a two-year citizen sensing pilot monitoring a range of environmental issues that relate to Dundee’s green transitions for the built environment. Their research will also support a range of pop up, co-design and insights labs across six cities; the leadership of a community of practice; and storytelling activities.
Thousands of members of the public will be asked to install sensors and use mobile phone apps to capture data on the local environment. By gathering evidence and raising awareness of the problems they face, citizens can organise an effective grassroots, community or local government response. Dundee is one of six cities across Europe to have joined forces to enable people to participate in citizen science for public sector innovation through the implementation of nature-based solutions to decrease issues such as air pollution and improve mental health, among other benefits.
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By 2050, it is expected that 83.7% of Europe’s population will live in cities, a marked increase from the estimated 72% in 2015. While cities provide opportunities and infrastructure, city-dwellers also face threats such as harmful levels of air pollution and the heat island effect, which is becoming increasingly severe due to climate change.
Nature-based solutions such as the expansion of urban greenspace and tree planting can provide cooling effects, decrease air pollution, and improve mental health, among other benefits. Several initiatives support this approach however, informed decision making is still a challenge for public authorities due to the lack of reliable data. Citizen science along with other novel data streams like Earth Observation, low-cost sensor networks, and wearable technologies can offer new insights to address this challenge.
UKRI Reference Number: 10041792
Project lead(s)Professor Mel Woods
External team members
Naomi Clarke and Dr Viola Marx (Dundee City Council); Co-Ordinators Inian Moorthy and Gerid Hager IIASA Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES) Research Group, with the following academic and private sector partners; Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB); Institute Of Communication And Computer Systems (ICCS); ICLEI European Secretariat Gmbh (ICLEI Europasekretariat Gmbh); Ethniko Asteroskopeio Athinon (NOA); Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS); as well as six cities: Athens, Greece; Cascais, Portugal; Dundee, UK; Mannheim, Germany; Riga, Latvia; and Utrecht, The Netherlands.