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The iSCAPE Project | Improving the Smart Control of Air Pollution in Europe

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iSCAPE is the most ambitious EU project to improve air quality in European cities with the use of photocatalytic technology, what this means is that they plan to clean indoor and outdoor air through the use of light. It aims to integrate and promote the control of air quality and carbon emissions in European cities through the development of sustainable air pollution remediation strategies.

The iSCAPE project is working with the following institutions and organisations in order to research and then make recommendations to cities about the best way to proceed with this technology: Trinity College Dublin (IRE), M.I.T. University of Surrey (UK), Ilmatieteen Laitos (FIN), Universiteit Hasselt (BEL), Technische Universitat Dortmund (GER), JRC -Joint Research Center- European Commission (BEL), Institut D’Arquitectura Avancada de Catalunya (ESP), T6 Ecosystems srl (ITA) and PURETi (ESP-USA).

The problem of reducing air pollution in target cities will be addressed, focusing on the use of “Passive Control Systems” in urban spaces. Improvements in air quality, microclimate and citizen behaviour will be achieved through the application of physical interventions in the urban fabric to alter ventilation rates and patterns of pollution dispersion in cities.

Through the Living Labs’ ‘Urban Think Tanks’ approach, the team will deploy a network of meteorological and air quality sensors (both stationary and mobile). They will evaluate the expected benefits of the interventions in different neighbourhoods and cities to be able to scale several aspects that go from the quantification of the concentration of pollutants to the exposition of the citizens to the latter ones.

iSCAPE aims to build on the the concept of “smart cities” by promoting the use of low-cost sensors and by encouraging citizens to use alternative solutions to current environmental challenges.

iSCAPE will support sustainable urban development by promoting the exchange of results with policy makers and urban planners using proven local cases and providing ready-to-use scientific evidence that can potentially lead to real-time operational interventions.

This integrated approach will also include the development and evaluation of a framework to change the behaviour of people’s mobility by studying processes and dynamics that lead to more resilient, healthy and sustainable cities. By bringing together aspects of urban planning, public policies, environmental sociology, urban geography and the latest advances in decontamination of cities such as the third-generation photocatalytic products.

The project was launched in Dublin in 2016 and is therefore still at very early stages, but with air quality being a major problem in many European cities it will be interesting to see how the project develops over the coming years and to see if air quality can be improved  through the implementation of photocatalytic technology.