Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Urban Releaf

Citizen-powered data ecosystems for inclusive and green urban transitions

Project Description

Urban ReLeaf aims at delivering citizen-powered data ecosystems to support cross-sectoral innovation and political agenda-setting for climate change adaptation and green infrastructure planning in urban environments. The innovation will be underpinned by co-creation efforts and inclusive citizen participation, cutting-edge technologies to support citizen observations, as well as robust and quality-assured workflows for the integration and visualisation of the data in authoritative data streams and platforms.

The role of SMIT

SMIT is responsible for “Stakeholder Dialogue and Inclusive Citizen Participation”. Amongst others, this activity has the objective to assess the current state of greening activities and co-create inclusive citizen participation strategies for the six Pilot cities involved in the project (Athens, Cascais, Dundee, Mannheim, Riga, and Utrecht). Through policy analysis and stakeholder dialogue, SMIT will identify opportunities and challenges for citizen participation (e.g., citizen observations) in greening policies. This will result in a landscape report that illustrates the dynamic policy processes, shows the existing gaps, and offers recommendations for inclusive citizen participation and data-collection opportunities for cities. Through multi-actor participatory workshops (PAR4P) SMIT will enable reflection and reframing of the challenges and opportunities previously identified, and as such co-create inclusive engagement strategies. Through these workshops, the collective visions of how citizen-powered observations can complement authoritative and official measurements will be elicited, and the identified approaches will be consolidated into strategy blueprints for each pilot city.

SMIT is also responsible for the creation of the Urban ReLeaf toolkit for cities, supporting the development of data-driven and citizen-powered urban greenspace monitoring approaches. The toolkit will include topics such as innovative data-governance, social inclusion, quality assurance, new data-streams via wearables and low-cost sensors, and continuity models, amongst others in the form of practice abstracts and descriptions of use cases stemming from Urban ReLeaf city pilots.

Overall, SMIT is also responsible for the project inclusiveness and urban green communication policy to ensure that all communication materials and activities (i) are equally accessible to as many people as possible, regardless of race, age, ethnicity, and gender, and (ii) are designed to reduce the impact on the environment. These project values will be published in a project statement on the website and best practices and lessons learned in applying it will be shared as part of a deliverable.