gms | German Medical Science

24. Jahrestagung des Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V.

Netzwerk Evidenzbasierte Medizin e. V. (EbM-Netzwerk)

22. - 24.03.2023, Potsdam

Tackle climate issues using citizens science: addressing the equation of social inequality, health conditions and air pollution in cities

Meeting Abstract

  • Nico Steckhan - Universität Potsdam, Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Potsdam, Deutschland; Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charité Hochschulambulanz für Naturheilkunde am Immanuel Krankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland
  • Frauke Röth - Stiftung SPI, Deutschland
  • Tion Kudlek - Creative Climate Cities, Creative Climate Cities UG, Deutschland
  • Etienne Hanslian - Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charité Hochschulambulanz für Naturheilkunde am Immanuel Krankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland
  • Andreas Michalsen - Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charité Hochschulambulanz für Naturheilkunde am Immanuel Krankenhaus Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland
  • Bert Arnrich - Universität Potsdam, Hasso-Plattner-Institut, Potsdam, Deutschland
  • Nadine Kuhla von Bergmann - Creative Climate Cities, Creative Climate Cities UG, Deutschland

Gesundheit und Klima – EbM für die Zukunft. 24. Jahrestagung des Netzwerks Evidenzbasierte Medizin. Potsdam, 22.-24.03.2023. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2023. Doc23ebmPSII-6-03

doi: 10.3205/23ebm115, urn:nbn:de:0183-23ebm1153

Published: March 21, 2023

© 2023 Steckhan et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. See license information at



Background/research question: Air pollution in cities causes devastating health damage, according to recent international studies. High levels of particulate matter pollution contributed to about 1.8 million deaths worldwide in 2019 [1]. About 2.5 billion people in cities around the world are exposed to particulate matter levels above the limits recommended by the World Health Organization. This reflects around 86 percent of all people living in cities. Data from around 13,000 cities worldwide on exposure to fine dust particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers were evaluated for the calculation. High levels of particulate matter can cause premature death.

The Project DivAirCity, which receives funding from European Commission (Horizon2020, [2]) Preliminary/expected results, outlook:) investigates how "nature-based solutions" can be developed to improve air quality in cities by involving participatory and inclusive processes, especially young people, women, people with a migration background, people with disabilities and LGTBQI+ persons.

The aim is to empower vulnerable groups in terms of participation, raise awareness of environmental and climate issues and the benefits of ecological urban development, and ultimately improve air quality and thus quality of life and health.

Methods: There are two approaches with different project aims. The first study investigates the effect of air quality on vital signs, stress, and mood states. Using a scripted exposure protocol that will compare the effects of different locations (green-blue spaces vs traffic) in Potsdam. To perform this study, we collect data from a mobile air quality sensor system and a research wrist-worn device. Later we aim to provide citizens with such mobile sensing system.

The second study explores sonification (transformation of data to sound) as a new means of communicating particulate matter data. In particular, the assessment of air quality and the understanding of sonification will be investigated. Furthermore, the interaction of expectations of fine particulate pollution and the resulting interpretation of sonification will be investigated.

Preliminary/expected results, outlook:

A1: How do environmental characteristics such as traffic presence and blue-green space affect air quality?

A2: What impact on psychological stress and physiological metrics do varying air quality conditions have?

B1: How is the usability and understanding when people explore data from their environment with sonification, i.e. with their ears? To what extent can the approach awaken instincts to change actions?

Competing interests: No conflict of interest.


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