Ludic City 4: Brussels at Play
On Thursday 10th of December 2015, the fourth edition of the ‘Ludic City’ lectures took place. These lectures organized by iMinds-SMIT, VUB in collaboration with DiGRA Flanders, focus on gaming and play in relation to the public environment, and urban and everyday culture.

In this fourth edition, we had four speakers with us who are all active in Brussels. They offered their particular perspective on play and games, presenting the role that play and games have in their work practice: as an instrument and process for socio-cultural work (Eric Gijssen, Maks vzw), a product and work of art in game development (Sven Van de Perre, Monkube), social glue in the coming together of people at a festival (Nicolas Boseret, Brussels Games Festival), and a topic for research and reflection in academia (Katleen Gabriels, VUB). Host of the evening – as in previous editions - was Lizzy Bleumers, researcher at iMinds-SMIT, and member of DiGRA Flanders.

Eric Gijssen kicked off the evening with a presentation on how Maks vzw works to foster media literacy through coding and game-making. He was followed by Sven Van de Perre, who discussed game-making within a different context; that of indie development. As abstract board games were one of the inspirations for Sven’s game studio Monkube, the connection with our third speaker became clear. Nicolas Boseret elaborated on the Brussels Games Festival, which hosts a multitude of board games, and he shared with us just how diverse the group of board game authors is. Finally, Katleen Gabriels, took us in a different direction, considering the ethical aspects of applying game design elements to influence people’s attitudes and behaviors.

It was a special edition, which provided a unique glimpse of Brussels. With such great vibes and a highly interactive audience, we are already making plans for a fifth edition next year.

Note: The idea for the Ludic City lecture was first proposed and organized by researcher Lizzy Bleumers four years ago with a twofold goal. Firstly, it is meant to explore work on the intersection of two ongoing research lines at iMinds-SMIT: gaming and play research (e.g. WOOPI-project on hybrid play) and smart city research (e.g. ECIM-project on mobility). In addition, it is intended to give the audience a broader perspective on how games and play can be part of everyday life. As such, it also serves to disseminate game-related work and inspire collaborations. This is an important task for DiGRA Flanders (Digital Games Research Association) with which we team up for this event, and in which Lizzy is a member of the organising committee.
hackAIR Project Kick-Off
hackAIR: collective awareness for air quality

European project creates tools for 
citizens’ observatories on air pollution


Thessaloniki, January 2016. iMinds-SMIT-VUB, together with a consortium of five other partners in five European countries, has launched a project to develop an open technology toolkit for citizens’ observatories on air quality. The project hackAIR is supported through the EU programme on “Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation” until December 2018. 

“Air pollution is the single environmental issue Europeans worry about the most, and many do not feel sufficiently informed about air quality issues in their country. Air pollution, and more specifically particulate matter, shortens people’s lifespan and contributes to serious illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer”, says Arne Fellermann, air quality campaigner for Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND).

At the same time, it remains difficult for citizens to assess where and when they are exposed to air pollution from particulate matter. Official sensors are often few and far between, and their data is not always easily accessible. The hackAIR toolkit aims to complement official data with a number of community-driven data sources, including:

    • an easy-to-build open hardware sensor module that transmits regular air quality measurements via Bluetooth;
    • air quality information derived from mobile phone pictures of the sky; and
    • a low-tech measuring setup involving vacuum cleaners and coffee filters.

“This crowd-sourced air quality data will provide citizens with improved information about air pollution levels where they live. This will be useful for people who like to exercise outside, look after children or the elderly or suffer from respiratory problems themselves. It will also allow for a conversation in the local community about possible improvements in air quality”, says Evangelos Kosmidis, managing director of DRAXIS Environmental Technologies. 

The combination of both official open and community-driven data will thus contribute towards both individual and collective awareness about air quality in Europe, hereby encouraging changes in behaviour towards air quality. Within the project, effective engagement strategies for monitoring air pollution and encouraging behavioural change towards air quality will be explored. 

In 2016, the project partners will conduct a set of co-creation workshops with user communities and other involved stakeholders to determine needs and expectations and inform and evaluate the software design. The full platform is expected to be available for selected cities in 2017. 

The consortium consists of Draxis Environmental S.A., the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Friends of the Earth Germany, ON:SUBJECT and the SMIT Center for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

–– 

For further information and to get involved, sign up for updates at www.hackair.eu or follow us on Twitter @hack_AIR. 

Project coordinator:             Dr. Machi Simeonidou, msimeonidou@draxis.gr

Media contact:         Wiebke Herding, wiebke@onsubject.eu



This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 688363.
hackAIR Project Kick-Off
hackAIR: collective awareness for air quality

European project creates tools for 
citizens’ observatories on air pollution


Thessaloniki, January 2016. iMinds-SMIT-VUB, together with a consortium of five other partners in five European countries, has launched a project to develop an open technology toolkit for citizens’ observatories on air quality. The project hackAIR is supported through the EU programme on “Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation” until December 2018. 

“Air pollution is the single environmental issue Europeans worry about the most, and many do not feel sufficiently informed about air quality issues in their country. Air pollution, and more specifically particulate matter, shortens people’s lifespan and contributes to serious illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer”, says Arne Fellermann, air quality campaigner for Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND).

At the same time, it remains difficult for citizens to assess where and when they are exposed to air pollution from particulate matter. Official sensors are often few and far between, and their data is not always easily accessible. The hackAIR toolkit aims to complement official data with a number of community-driven data sources, including:

    • an easy-to-build open hardware sensor module that transmits regular air quality measurements via Bluetooth;
    • air quality information derived from mobile phone pictures of the sky; and
    • a low-tech measuring setup involving vacuum cleaners and coffee filters.

“This crowd-sourced air quality data will provide citizens with improved information about air pollution levels where they live. This will be useful for people who like to exercise outside, look after children or the elderly or suffer from respiratory problems themselves. It will also allow for a conversation in the local community about possible improvements in air quality”, says Evangelos Kosmidis, managing director of DRAXIS Environmental Technologies. 

The combination of both official open and community-driven data will thus contribute towards both individual and collective awareness about air quality in Europe, hereby encouraging changes in behaviour towards air quality. Within the project, effective engagement strategies for monitoring air pollution and encouraging behavioural change towards air quality will be explored. 

In 2016, the project partners will conduct a set of co-creation workshops with user communities and other involved stakeholders to determine needs and expectations and inform and evaluate the software design. The full platform is expected to be available for selected cities in 2017. 

The consortium consists of Draxis Environmental S.A., the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Friends of the Earth Germany, ON:SUBJECT and the SMIT Center for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

–– 

For further information and to get involved, sign up for updates at www.hackair.eu or follow us on Twitter @hack_AIR. 

Project coordinator:             Dr. Machi Simeonidou, msimeonidou@draxis.gr

Media contact:         Wiebke Herding, wiebke@onsubject.eu



This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 688363.
hackAIR Project Kick-Off
hackAIR: collective awareness for air quality

European project creates tools for 
citizens’ observatories on air pollution


Thessaloniki, January 2016. iMinds-SMIT-VUB, together with a consortium of five other partners in five European countries, has launched a project to develop an open technology toolkit for citizens’ observatories on air quality. The project hackAIR is supported through the EU programme on “Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation” until December 2018. 

“Air pollution is the single environmental issue Europeans worry about the most, and many do not feel sufficiently informed about air quality issues in their country. Air pollution, and more specifically particulate matter, shortens people’s lifespan and contributes to serious illnesses such as heart disease, respiratory problems and cancer”, says Arne Fellermann, air quality campaigner for Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND).

At the same time, it remains difficult for citizens to assess where and when they are exposed to air pollution from particulate matter. Official sensors are often few and far between, and their data is not always easily accessible. The hackAIR toolkit aims to complement official data with a number of community-driven data sources, including:

    • an easy-to-build open hardware sensor module that transmits regular air quality measurements via Bluetooth;
    • air quality information derived from mobile phone pictures of the sky; and
    • a low-tech measuring setup involving vacuum cleaners and coffee filters.

“This crowd-sourced air quality data will provide citizens with improved information about air pollution levels where they live. This will be useful for people who like to exercise outside, look after children or the elderly or suffer from respiratory problems themselves. It will also allow for a conversation in the local community about possible improvements in air quality”, says Evangelos Kosmidis, managing director of DRAXIS Environmental Technologies. 

The combination of both official open and community-driven data will thus contribute towards both individual and collective awareness about air quality in Europe, hereby encouraging changes in behaviour towards air quality. Within the project, effective engagement strategies for monitoring air pollution and encouraging behavioural change towards air quality will be explored. 

In 2016, the project partners will conduct a set of co-creation workshops with user communities and other involved stakeholders to determine needs and expectations and inform and evaluate the software design. The full platform is expected to be available for selected cities in 2017. 

The consortium consists of Draxis Environmental S.A., the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas, Friends of the Earth Germany, ON:SUBJECT and the SMIT Center for Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

–– 

For further information and to get involved, sign up for updates at www.hackair.eu or follow us on Twitter @hack_AIR. 

Project coordinator:             Dr. Machi Simeonidou, msimeonidou@draxis.gr

Media contact:         Wiebke Herding, wiebke@onsubject.eu



This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 688363.