Institut Ramon Llull

NO2 Air pollution measurement campaign in the city of Venice

Institut Ramon Llull

The Collateral Event Air/Aria/Aire Catalonia in Venice of the Biennale Architettura 2021, shows the results of a study on air pollution carried out in the city of Venice.

At the end of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the results of the NO2 air pollution campaign in the city of Venice (an initiative of the project Air/Aria/Aire_Catalonia in Venice presented by the Institut Ramon Llull as Collateral Event of La Biennale Architettura 2021) will be disclosed.

Air/Aria/Aire is a collateral event of the Biennale Architettura 2021 curated by Olga Subirós. The project reflects upon the central theme of this edition of Biennale Architettura, “How will we live together?”, with research about air as a common asset upon which our survival depends. Under the name Airthe exhibition highlights the role of architecture and urban planning in the context of two interconnected global crises: climate change and the public health crisis caused by air pollution. This curatorial project shows a research on atmospheric pollution, how it directly affects people in urban environments, and the urgent need to put health at the centre of cities decisions.

The project focuses on big data analysis to benefit the public; it identifies the actions needed to rethink urban design, and the need for access to open data. Cities as prolific data producers must be able to protect the sovereignty of these public and private data, so they work for the common good.

One of the goals of the project is collecting data on air pollution in Venice and doing so in a participative way that goes beyond the current resolution obtained from fewer official stations. Architectural students from the Venice School of Architecture (IUAV) have been able to identify the air pollution of their city in collaboration with the research group Open Systems from the Universitat de Barcelona, and the environmental consulting 4Sfera. The action represents the first large-scale citizen science campaign on air quality in Venice. […]

The project Air/Aria/Aire is an attempt to support the citizen’s initiative for a better air quality in Venice. In 2017, due to citizen’s pressure for a greater public concern on air quality, the city of Venice installed its first air quality monitoring station ARPAV in the city centre – Rio Novo Street. (Nuova centralina Arpav a rio Novo – La Nuova di Venezia Venezia).

In 2019, due to the measurements results at the station of Rio Novo, the city council issued regulations to restrict air traffic. […]

Precedents in Barcelona. This NO2 mapping campaign in Venice had a previous campaign as a baseline, the one conducted at the beginning of the project with architectural students from the Escola Sert de formació contínua – Col·legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya, which results were published in Quaderns Biennale 2021: Air, Aria, Aire. The campaign was conducted in February 2021. The dosimeters were exposed to air pollution for the 50% of the time during a period of normal activity in Barcelona; the rest of the time they measured air quality during the Covid-19 lockdown. Despite living with an exceptional reduction of cars in the city, the levels were high or very high, in some cases exceeding the 40 μg/m3 (at Via Laietana Street, for example).

The data collection on NO2 levels in 25 different locations of Venice city centre is a landmark for the city in order to identify pollution levels and make the issue notable at a citizen level. Citizen science, thanks to Air/Aria/Aire, becomes a tool to empower citizens and give them more reasons to demand changes that help us approach a city model that makes citizens health its main priority.

NO2 Air pollution measurement campaign in the city of Venice
Related Project

Institut Ramon Llull. Catalonia in Venice

Biennale Architettura Venice 2021

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