Six European cities to use ICLEI Action Fund to bolster data-driven environmental change
29 September 2020
The ICLEI Action Fund selected six non-profit and academic organisations to carry out data-driven environmental projects in cities across Europe. The proposals were chosen based on their potential impact, contribution to the city's sustainability goals, use of data, and the level of innovation and strategic thinking behind it.
Led by ICLEI Europe, in collaboration with Google.org, the Action Fund will grant projects in Copenhagen (Denmark), Nantes (France), Berlin, and Hamburg (Germany), and Birmingham, and Greater Manchester (UK). With topics ranging from sustainable mobility, and air quality to sustainable buildings, the projects will promote the use of different sources of data to drive environmental action through different applications and decision-support tools, such as monitoring systems, test beds, and new guidance.
“Advancing on local environmental and climate action requires a deep understanding of local realities and needs. We believe that getting actionable insights from different data sources is key to accelerate the development of innovative projects, improving local environmental quality and reducing carbon emissions. We are confident that the selected projects will contribute to their cities’ local sustainability goals and demonstrate the importance of data-driven approaches for better decision-making processes,” said Wolfgang Teubner, Regional Director, ICLEI Europe.
Data related to transport, energy, and air pollution are increasingly available in cities all over the world, making it possible for governments and organisations to invest and take environmental action towards climate mitigation. Through the tool Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), Google has estimated building and transport greenhouse gas emissions, as well as solar roof potential on a local level. Organisations will use both data from the EIE, when available, and from other openly accessible data sources to guide their projects.
“Data, innovation, and collaboration are critical for effective climate action. We were thrilled to see civil society respond so creatively to the ICLEI Action Fund, and are eager to see the selected projects reduce the carbon footprint of cities across Europe” said Rowan Barnett, Head of Google.org in Europe.
Projects are set to start in October 2020 and will run for up to two years. For more information about the selected proposals, see below:
In the Danish capital Copenhagen, nonprofit Miljøpunkt Amager will receive a grant to develop tested and fact-based guidelines for the design of urban spaces that protect citizens against harmful air pollution in the city’s Orestad District. Working closely with the City of Copenhagen and their City Solutions Lab, Miljøpunkt will use Google AirView, traffic and community-collected data to inform new designs of urban spaces where citizens can enjoy the local environment with improved air quality levels and vibrant public spaces.
In Berlin, Deutsche Umwelthilfe will use air quality, noise level and traffic data from local sources and the EIE, along with other tools, to carry out data-driven advocacy and actions to promote street-specific changes to cycling and other mobility infrastructure in order to accelerate the city’s progress toward its air quality and carbon-free transport goals.
In Hamburg, HafenCity University will receive a grant to develop the ANN (A New Normal) Radar, which will incorporate data from the Hamburg Urban Data Platform, the EIE tool and other sources to help the City of Hamburg identify spaces and districts that can be used as urban testbeds for prototyping sustainable energy innovations.
In Nantes, Air Pays de La Loire aims at providing real-time air quality datasets accounting for traffic conditions, integrated into tools to allow citizens and local authorities to make the right decisions at the right time, including public transportation management and traffic regulation systems. Data will also be available for citizens through a mobile app to incentivize the users towards alternatives transports. The project will work with the local organisation SAMOA to identify a local test bed to trial the new models at the Ile de Nantes district.
In Birmingham, the independent charity Centre for Sustainable Energy will receive a grant to establish an open-source, city-wide energy data-set. The team will also develop tools for analysis of the data, such as modelling decarbonisation options for buildings in the city, overlaying and integrating public datasets, and aggregating highly-granular neighborhood data. With the augmented data, the Centre hopes to identify and develop city-wide interventions and smaller community-driven sustainable energy initiatives to help Birmingham City Council reach its overall decarbonisation goals in the energy and transport sectors.
In Greater Manchester, Carbon Co-op and its partners will initiate a neighbourhood scale ‘Think and Do tank’ which will co-produce new multi-sector Energy Masterplans for Oldham City and create three pilot citizen-led sustainability projects including activities in sustainable mobility and energy efficient buildings. The process will be supported by an Urban Energy Dashboard, using data streams to baseline and track progress against clean energy targets identified in the plans.