The Urban Air Quality 2.0 Project provides up-to-date air quality information to residents, authorities and businesses in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
Urban Air Quality 2.0, a new joint project between the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY), is funded by the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation’s Future Makers Funding Program. The aim of the project is to increase the availability and accessibility of real-time, high-resolution air quality data to the residents, businesses and authorities of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The project seeks to improve the usability of air quality data by enhancing its accuracy, coverage and accessibility with the development of measurement and data analysis methods and models. New uses for air quality data will also be sought by involving other stakeholders, such as businesses and residents.
The project will pilot new methods for measuring air quality, such as mobile measurements, affordable air quality sensors, and calibration algorithms for sensors. In addition, the project will develop advanced methods for measuring and modelling new air quality parameters, such as black carbon (BC), lung-deposited surface area (LDSA) and particle number concentration (PNC), which will help facilitate the assessment of the health effects of atmospheric particulate matter (PM2.5). The project will also organise participatory measurement campaigns where residents will be asked to carry affordable air quality sensors, developed at the University of Helsinki, as they move about in the region.
New measurements and air quality parameters will also be incorporated into the ENFUSER forecast model developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The objective is to collect air quality data from several different levels to a single data platform for the needs of various stakeholders.
The data generated in the project will be open, and the project aims to provide new avenues for the application of this data by, for example, arranging hackathons for residents and businesses. One example of an innovative application for air quality data is Green Paths, a route planner developed at the University of Helsinki that helps users discover the most optimal routes for clean air. The application will also be enhanced to support mass analyses, allowing urban planners to utilise population-level exposure calculations in their planning processes.
One of the project’s key focus areas is to increase popular awareness of air quality by making air quality data more available and interesting. Residents will be better equipped to reduce their exposure to air pollutants when they are provided with up-to-date air quality data and forecasts. For example, HSY’s measurement network and air quality map will be further developed, with new air quality parameters (BC and LDSA) being added to the map. The assessments of air pollutants and their sources are important to both the authorities and urban planning, so that air quality can be improved.
When companies respond to problems related to air pollutants, it can provide them with new opportunities for business and serving as pioneering actors in their respective fields. Although the project will be carried out in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, the data platform developed in the project can be scaled and adapted for any other cities as well. This will help make air quality observations more efficiently and directly available to businesses, residents and decision-makers.
The project brings together the multidisciplinary and world-renowned air quality expertise of the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority (HSY). The project fosters interaction between researchers, residents, application developers and businesses, creating new opportunities for the utilisation of air quality data.
The project is funded by the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation and is part of the 2021 Future Makers Funding Program.
University of Helsinki
The University of Helsinki is an international scientific community. The University of Helsinki’s Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), the Department of Computer Science, and the Department of Geosciences and Geography are involved in the Urban Air Quality 2.0 Project. The Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR) is a multidisciplinary atmospheric research organisation that combines physics, chemistry and meteorology with forest, environmental and social sciences. The Department of Computer Science (CS) is responsible for computer science-related education and research at the University of Helsinki. The Department of Geosciences and Geography (GEO) has served as a long-time promoter of urban studies and applied research in geoinformatics.
Professor Tuukka Petäjä, firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 50 415 5278
Finnish Meteorological Institute
The Finnish Meteorological Institute produces high-quality observation and research data on the atmosphere and seas. The Institute combines its areas of expertise into the services it provides to promote public safety and increase the well-being of society and the environment, while taking into account any preparedness-related needs. The Atmospheric Composition Research Unit studies and observes the physical and chemical properties of particulates and gases that affect air quality and the climate. The Unit also studies the atmospheric transformation and spread of these particulates and gases. As part of the Urban Air Quality 2.0 Project, the Finnish Meteorological Institute is involved in the development of the measurement and modelling of air quality in urban areas.
Senior Researcher Hilkka Timonen, email@example.com, +358 50 380 2864
Air quality in Finland: https://en.ilmatieteenlaitos.fi/air-quality
The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY
The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority HSY is a joint municipal authority that provides water and waste management services and produces information on the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and the environment. HSY is responsible for all air quality-related monitoring and information in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. As part of the project, HSY will be responsible for the development of an air quality monitoring system and the related services, as well as communicating about them. HSY will provide the new information and services developed in the project for the use of urban planning and the residents of the region.
Jarkko Niemi, Air Quality Expert, firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 50 352 0593
Information on air quality and measurement results: https://www.hsy.fi/en/air-quality-and-climate/air-quality-now/