Air quality is one of the crucial environmental aspects in urban regions that affect our living environment, health and the quality of life. The UIA HOPE project - Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone - is about promoting a healthy urban environment in collaboration of 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 suggesting pleasant walking and cycling routes in Helsinki urban region by reducing exposure to air pollution and traffic noise. Green Paths routing tool is based on accurate real-time spatiotemporal air quality data derived from the Enfuser model developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute and modelled traffic noise data based on an assessment and modelling conducted in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in 2017.
Next to developing the routing tool, we aim to understand how the residents in Helsinki metropolitan region are exposed to both pollution as well as health-benefiting urban greenery during their commuting trips, and how equally accessible pleasant travel routes are for different socio-spatial population groups. We see that Green Paths routing tool and travel-time environmental exposure assessment more broadly can support spatial and transport planning as they allow evaluating if access to healthy and pleasant urban travel is equally available in space.
UIA HOPE project is co-funded by the Urban Innovative Actions programme of the European Union. The project is led by the City of Helsinki and has several partnering institutions and companies from the Helsinki region. The project lasts for 2019-2021.
Further contact: Age Poom, age.poom(at)helsinki.fi.