On Friday 3 May 2024, the Academy of the Near Future showcase was hosted at the Mansion House, one of Dublin’s finest buildings. Innovative action projects by primary and secondary female school students were developed based on traffic and air quality sensor data collected through the I-CHANGE project. Students presented their ideas and gained valuable feedback and insights from the Lord Mayor of Dublin and sustainability professionals attending the event.  

Among the presentations, students from Walkinstown school displayed a geocaching project aimed at engaging youth, revitalising the neighbourhood, and increasing physical activity in the community. Having used sensors that helped to identify a low number of pedestrians in this neighbourhood, and recognising the perception of Walkinstown as a ‘boring’ area among youth due to limited recreational spaces, these young women created an interesting and safe activity.  

Meanwhile, students from Our Lady of Mercy College school addressed gender disparities in cycling around Dublin. After identifying barriers for girls cycling in the city, they developed the ‘Get Girls Cycling’ initiative and committed to different campaigns to encourage active cycling among their peers. Through surveys and analysis, they pinpointed key obstacles and promoted actions such as dedicated cycling days and awareness campaigns, fostering a more inclusive biking culture. A different group from the same school developed the ‘Dublin Bus Experience’, a project to identify perceptions about public transport in the city and examine strategies to make the public transport environment, especially buses, cleaner, more inclusive and safer.  

The showcase was a non-competitive initiative that aimed to support creativity and STEM skills among young people, contributing to a smarter, more sustainable Dublin. Every participating student was recognised for their dedication and innovation, marking a positive and inspiring experience. 

I-CHANGE and especially the Dublin Living Lab take pride in these achievements and hope that the project and ongoing collaboration with Smart Docklands can continue to empower citizens in addressing environmental challenges.