2007-01-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by
The World Health Organization reports that 2 million people die each year from the effects of air pollution, twice the number of fatalities as from automobile accidents . Direct causes of air pollution related deaths include aggravated asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung and heart diseases, and respiratory allergies. While civic agencies address large-scale environmental health problems from the top down by working directly with governments and industries, we explore the design of personal platforms for sensing our natural environment and empowering collective action across blocks, neighborhoods, cities, and nations. In this paper, we report early findings from two field studies of human centered air quality measurements and a simple technology deployment in the spirit of this new Participatory Urbanism: (1) an interview survey of air quality awareness, (2) a field study using several mobile air quality environmental sensors deployed across Accra, Ghana, and (3) the release of an on-the-go air quality awareness mobile SMS tool.