Hasselt living lab: A test-bed for solutions towards eco-friendly lifestyles

Location

Location: Hasselt, Belgium

Environmental areas addressed

Climate action, sustainable transport, pollution (in particular air pollution)

About

Warm episodes such as heat waves increase the risk of developing heat-related illnesses, like heat strokes. The number of people exposed to extreme heat grows because of urbanisation and climate change. Our research question is: How will urbanisation and climate change together affect summertime indoor air temperatures in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and other European cities? To answer this question, the I-CHANGE team from the Meteorology & Air Quality Section of Wageningen University & Research (Wageningen Environmental Research – WUR) together with the Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute – Homepage (ams-institute.org)) will set up a living lab with local communities in Amsterdam. In the living lab we monitor and study the spatiotemporal character of indoor and outdoor atmospheric parameters that influence citizen’s health, like urban thermal comfort and air quality. We will explain the differences in indoor temperatures between residences by factors related to neighbourhood design, building architecture and residents’ behaviour. Moreover, we will collaborate with existing initiatives and engage with citizens into finding climate adaptation interventions together needed to make cities healthy places to live. The measurement network of the living lab adds on to our already operational network of 24 weather stations across Amsterdam, and a flux tower measuring sensible heat, evapotranspiration and CO2 flux. In heatwaves we add field campaigns with sodar, tricycle and balloon observations. Have look at this video about one of our field campaigns at the Dam in Amsterdam: Launching weather balloons from Amsterdam for 24 hours, measuring the urban climate – YouTube!

How to participate?

Engagement meetings have started in autumn 2022. More information on how to participate please contact the Living Lab team via email.

 

Experiments

Activities will focus on the co-creation, co-implementation and monitoring of solutions to tackle the environmental areas specifically addressed by the living lab (air pollution, sustainable transport), favouring in turn climate adaptation. We believe that information and increased awareness about pollutant exposure in different travel-related micro environments could influence citizens towards more eco-friendly mobility lifestyles. We aim to co-design and implement effective solutions supported with evidences generated from data collection using a range of sensors (low-cost air quality sensors, meteorological sensors and web-based crowd sourcing platforms). The dissemination of scientific knowledge (especially impacts of solutions) generated based on the living lab activities provides multiple benefits which are then used to up-scale solutions on a city and regional level.

The Hasselt Living Lab, managed by the Transportion Research Institute (IMOB) at Hasselt University, has teamed up with local technical secondary school Campus Hast for a profound collaboration. Both students and teachers will collect GPS and meteo data during the full school year (September 2023 – June 2024). Digital sensors such as Meteotrackers and smart citizen kits will be utilized under this collaboration where students and teachers will not only collect data, but will be using it in an innovative manner to integrate the findings obtained from its analysis to enhance students learning about climate change issues. This collaboration will also feature in the ‘Limburg Stemt Af’ project, an anual STEM project which aims to bring education and business together to create educational opportunities for Limburg’s technological talents.

Background

Limburg province in Belgium (of which Hasselt is the capital city) has a unique spatial context that is characterized by skewed and highly dispersed built-up areas. This causes travelling in this region highly dependent on flexible and faster means of transport such as motorized vehicles. Additionally, the public transport is difficult to organize in the region in a cost-effective manner. This also causes an increase in the levels of traffic related emissions and pollutants in key activity locations (such as schools, inner city shopping streets etc). This situation is challenging, and requires concentrated efforts to promote sustainable means of personal travel. Hasselt living lab (as a part of the Transportation Research Institute) is established with a view point to address this problem as it provides a test-bed for co-developing solutions that promote eco-friendly mobility lifestyles. With wide expertise in the field of transportation, a range of tools are developed that help in co-creating solutions and test future policy scenarios

Partners

Transportation Research Institute (IMOB)
Hasselt University

Contact

Muhammad Adnan
e-mail: muhammad.adnan@uhasselt.be
Davy Janssens
e-mail: davy.janssens@uhasselt.be
IMOB
e-mail: imob@uhasselt.be

News

Read more about the ongoing activities of the Hasselt Living Lab: CLICK HERE

Contact

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101037193.