Developing and using socially responsible ICT-based crowdsourcing tools, NILU and partners want to engage citizens all over Norway in environmental research and decision-making processes on issues regarding water drainage, wood burning and urban planning.
– The iResponse project starts on September 1st and runs for three years, says senior scientist Susana López-Aparicio from NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research.
– During this time, we will develop two crowdsourcing tools following the principles of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). The first tool is an interactive platform to map citizen acceptance and involve them in co-creation of water drainage solutions for e.g. pavements, ponds and playgrounds, and the second is a mobile/web-based application to collect data about wood consumption for house heating.
How much do you burn?
Wood burning as a heat source is widely used in Norway, and there is available data for the amount used per county. But to use this information to estimate the impact of wood burning on air quality, López-Aparicio and the other partners need higher space and time resolution. In other words – they want you and me to tell them how much wood we burn at home, and when we burn it, by using an app NILU and Netlife Research will collaborate to develop.
– Our goal is to make an app that is easy and quick to use, and that in one way or another “rewards” the users, motivating them to keep reporting over time. We will also use social media platforms to invite people to participate, and share the information gathered. It will be a challenge, but we are optimistic and eager to start, López-Aparicio says.
Water, air and urban planning
To test and evaluate the two new crowdsourcing tools, in addition to a map-based questionnaire for urban planning developed by Mapita/Aalto University (https://maptionnaire.com/), the scientists will carry out three main real-life case studies as part of an interactive process. These studies, focusing on sustainable water drainage, air pollution and effective urban planning, will address different research questions and learning cases regarding the urban environment and citizen participation.
The goal is to enable citizens to take part in and influence urban planning by expressing their preferences, providing observations or user information. The different crowdsourcing tools will let each person participate as they prefer, involving different concerns and challenges.
– During the process of gathering the data from the different tools, we will map out any social concerns reported, López-Aparicio explains, – and then propose possible solutions to overcome them based on implementation and testing processes.
The project aims to design tools in a reliable way towards responsibility, transparency and openness to the public, without compromising the quality of the research and user needs. Thus, in the last phase of the project, the partners will deliver recommendations for the development and use of crowdsourcing in environmental research and decision-making (including urban planning) within the ICT sector.
About the project
The iResponse project (“Social Responsible Crowdsourcing for Environmental Research and Decision-Making”) is a collaboration between:
- NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research
- Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA)
- National Institute for Consumer Research (SIFO)
- University of Aalto in Finland
- Mapita, a Finnish map-based survey research company
- Institute for information technology at the University of Oslo
- Netlife Research
The project is funded through the Norwegian Research Council’s programme SAMANSVAR, emphasizing research on responsible innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
In addition to the partners, a group of stakeholders is involved. Among them are the Norwegian Environment Agency, Oslo Municipality, the Norwegian Data Protection Authority and the non-governmental organization ZERO.