The city of Bologna and its numerous actors are highly active in the fight against climate change as well as in researching and implementing solutions that lead to a resilient and sustainable city.
The Bologna Living Lab, focused on air quality, sustainable transport, energy consumption, and biodiversity, organized a stakeholder engagement event during the European Green Week to present the project’s preliminary results and share the next steps of cooperation, particularly in improving air quality and promoting sustainable mobility in the city of Bologna.
Following the institutional greetings from Professors Maurizio Bergamaschi and Luca Lambertini from the Department of Sociology and Law and Economics (SDE) and the Department of Economic Sciences (DSE) of the University of Bologna, both involved in the I-CHANGE project, researchers from the Department of Physics and Astronomy “A. Righi” and the Department of Sociology shared the project’s results. They presented numerical simulation results that predicted changes in traffic and the use of different modes of transportation based on implemented traffic policies, especially in scenarios with increased cycling lanes and the implementation of a low-emission zone.
Subsequently, they presented preliminary results of a survey aimed at investigating the factors that can influence citizens’ behavioral changes towards more sustainable lifestyles. One key outcome highlighted that public policies and accessible infrastructure are fundamental tools to initiate the necessary shift away from a fossil fuel-based society towards the Bologna NetZero objective by 2050.
Based on the emerging issues, the Round Table discussion brought together Simona Larghetti, councilor and delegate of the Metropolitan City of Bologna for Cycling Mobility, the Bicipolitana Project, Road Safety, and the Metropolitan Railway Service Project, Andrea Colombo, senior expert in environment and climate, sustainable mobility, and public space at the Urban Innovation Foundation (FIU), and Vanes Poluzzi, Head of the Regional Thematic Centre for Air Quality and interim Head of the Regional Thematic Centre for Urban Areas (Arpae). There was a convergence of perspectives among the three guests of the round table, emphasizing that the choice to adopt a more sustainable and conscious lifestyle goes beyond implementing attentive and innovative policies. It also relies on the support that science and clear, understandable data can provide in communicating the risks associated with climate change. The collective effort of research institutions, public authorities, and civil society should be aimed at supporting behavioral changes in society as a whole, highlighting how current efforts can lead to a “future happiness”.
Currently, I-CHANGE is halfway through its project path, and the Bologna Living Lab is actively involving citizens in Citizen Science activities, including a first data collection campaign on air quality using low-cost Meteotracker sensors, which are portable meteorological sensors, and a second “Hands on the Map” campaign where citizens experience how different modes of transportation can impact people’s daily lives.