For London to be the most comprehensively environmentally monitored city in the World. This will provide detailed, near real time, spatially distributed information on weather, pollution and wildlife from a network of linked crowd-built and crowd-maintained sensors, supporting health and environmental conservation outcomes in the city and spearheading the development of similar networks in other cities worldwide.
Working with schools, environmental organisations and individual homeowners to develop and deploy a crowd-controlled, low cost, high quality, London-wide, internet-connected network of sensors (including climate and weather, air and water pollution, noise, bioacoustics and wildlife cameras) linked with a web based platform and messaging service providing detailed, actionable, information on weather, pollution and environment. These will be based on FreeSensor and FreeStation designs and work alongside the EduStation Project. Where possible, we will also integrate other monitoring systems that routinely crowd-source relevant information (Twitter, Oyster, Google Maps, traffic and security cam networks).
Cities cover only 3% of the land surface but are home to 54% of the human population, some 3.9 billion people. The environment of cities is strongly affected by building and transport infrastructure but this environment is very poorly monitored in most cities. The UK Meteorological Office has only ~20 monitoring stations across the whole of Greater London, of ~200 automatic stations in the entire UK. Stations are usually more than 40km apart. London has fewer than two air quality monitoring stations per 100 000 people or 0.1 per square km. This is still higher than most EU cities and orders of magnitude higher than most non-EU cities. We know very little about our own environmental living conditions.
As urban populations continue to grow we need to understand better the nature of the environment in which we live. We need this to minimise the impact of natural hazards like floods, to understand chronic pollution loads in air and water with impacts on health and to better manage cities for environmental, physical and psychological well-being of their inhabitants. This includes making the most of green nature within cities, the benefits that nature provides to people and the site specific mechanisms for better managing urban environments and wildlife to maximise these benefits.