Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone
Air quality is one of the crucial environmental aspects in urban regions that affect our living environment, health, and quality of life.

The UIA HOPE project - Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone - is about promoting a healthy urban environment in collaboration with different actors from local government and citizens to businesses and scientists. It deals with advancing the current air quality monitoring network with the help of citizens to gain spatiotemporally accurate information on environmental conditions where people live and travel. Three core districts with varying air quality challenges are in the focus of the project: Jätkäsaari with heavy port-related traffic, Vallila with an active urban street canyon, and suburban Pakila with domestic wood-burning and transit traffic.

Within the project, our action in the Digital Geography Lab is linked to the development of a Green Paths routing tool for aiding individual route choice and facilitating environmental exposure research. The aim is to suggest pleasant walking and cycling routes in Helsinki urban region by reducing exposure to air pollution and traffic noise and increasing exposure to street-level greenery. The Green Paths routing tool is based on near-real-time air quality data derived from the Enfuser model that is developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, modelled traffic noise data based on an assessment and modelling conducted in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in 2017, and street-level greenery that is derived from street view images and land cover data (Toikka et al. 2020).

Check out the Green Paths routing tool and find pleasant routes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area!

Find some background information about the Green Paths routing tool.

Next to developing the routing tool, we aim to understand how the residents in Helsinki region are exposed to health-benefiting and harmful exposures during their daily trips, and how equally accessible pleasant travel routes are for different socio-spatial population groups. We apply bike-sharing and mobile positioning data from Helsinki as a proxy for human mobility. We believe that the Green Paths routing tool and travel-time environmental exposure assessment more broadly can support spatial and transport planning as they allow evaluating the just distribution of access to healthy and pleasant urban travel environments.

People

Joose Helle, software developer

Age Poom, postdoctoral researcher

Elias Willberg, PhD student

Tuuli Toivonen, professor

Further contact: Tuuli Toivonen, tuuli.toivonen(at).helsinki.fi.

Publications

Helle, J. (2021). Uusi reittiopas ohjaa viihtyisämmille kävely- ja pyöräreiteille. Positio 1/2021. https://www.maanmittauslaitos.fi/tietoa-maanmittauslaitoksesta/ajankohtaista/lehdet-ja-julkaisut/positio/uusi-reittiopas-ohjaa-viihtyisammille-reiteille

Helle, J., Poom, A., Willberg, E., Toivonen, T. (under review). The Green Paths route planning software for exposure-optimised travel. Accessible at OSF Preprints, https://doi.org/10.31219/osf.io/vxcp3.

Johansson L, Poom A, Niemi J, Timonen H, Karppinen A (forthcoming). On the utilization of real-time activity and air quality sensor data in a local-scale operative dispersion model in Helsinki. Proceedings of the 38th International Technical Meeting on Air Pollution Modelling and its Applications, 18−22 Oct, 2021, Barcelona, Spain.

Poom, A., Helle, J., & Toivonen, T. (2020). Journey planners can promote active, healthy and sustainable urban travel. Urbaria Summaries Series, Vol. 2020, No. 6. Helsingin yliopisto, Kaupunkitutkimusinstituutti Urbaria. https://www2.helsinki.fi/sites/default/files/atoms/files/age_poom_joose_helle_tuuli_toivonen_journey_planners_can_promote_active_healthy_and_sustainable_urban_travel.pdf

Poom, A., Helle, J., Willberg, E. & Toivonen, T. (2021). Examining environmental exposure during travel – routing tool and population-level analysis. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on CUPUM – Computational Urban Planning and Urban Management, June 9-11, 2021, Espoo, Finland

Poom, A., Helle, J., Willberg, E., & Toivonen, T. (2021). Green Paths -reittiopas auttaa löytämään miellyttävimmät reitit pääkaupunkiseudulla. Ilmansuojelu, 2021(1), 14-17. https://issuu.com/ilmansuojelu/docs/is_1_2021_issuu

Poom, A., Willberg, E., & Toivonen, T. (2021). Environmental exposure during travel: A research review and suggestions forward. Health & Place, 70, 102584. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102584

More research results are on the way, stay tuned!

Tools and media