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Integrated Climate forcing and Air pollution Reduction in Urban Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ICARUS (Integrated Climate forcing and Air pollution Reduction in Urban Systems)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2018-11-01 al 2020-10-31

To date policies to control greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality are considered separately leading often to contradictory and inefficient results.
ICARUS aimed to identify urban interventions towards a green economy to improve human health and wellbeing as well as the quality of environment with enhanced citizen engagement. Integrating socio-economic dynamics and population vulnerability in its analytical framework ICARUS promoted social cohesion, inclusiveness and cost-effectiveness in environmental health management, leading to more resilient, healthy, and equitable cities
The main objective of ICARUS was to develop integrated tools and strategies for urban innovation in support of air quality and climate change governance in the EU with enhanced citizen and stakeholder engagement. This leads to the design and implementation of integrated strategies to improve air quality and reduce the carbon footprint, resulting in smart, healthy and resilient cities.
Activity-emission factor tables based on business-as-usual scenarios have been generated for all EU Member States and for the 9 ICARUS cities for 2015, 2020 and 2030 with spatial resolution of 1x1 km to be used as input to air quality models (Fig.1). A satellite system that takes into account emissions at various stages of the life cycle of goods and services has been linked to the activity-emission factor databases.
Air quality simulations have been performed to derive high space and time resolution ground concentrations reflecting climatic trends for the period 2001-2050 of major air pollutants and greenhouse gases in Europe. Air pollution monitoring campaigns and particulate matter chemical speciation using ground monitors and aerial monitoring were completed in 6 European cities to link the chemical composition of atmospheric pollution with the respective major sources through source apportionment models. A methodological framework for integrative data fusion, aiming at delivering high resolution and accurate atmospheric pollution maps has been developed.
Around 1,000 individuals were recruited in the ICARUS cities in the frame of the ICARUS personal exposure campaigns and equipped with individual sensors (Fig.2). The ICARUS Agent-Based Modeling platform has been constructed (Fig.3) and tested to feed into a refined assessment of population exposure. A tiered modelling framework to quantitatively estimate health effects for all pollutants addressed by ICARUS has been developed.
A Db of 720 potential policies and measures in the 9 ICARUS cities has been compiled in close collaboration with city stakeholders. Out of these, ca. 50 were selected based on agreed criteria and have undergone a full quantitative impact assessment. Narrative visions for 2050 were developed; these have been further assessed to define the respective transition pathways together with stakeholders.
The ICARUS Decision Support System (Fig. 4) and mobile App (Fig. 5) have been developed and applied in the ICARUS cities. The DSS explores the impacts on air pollution, radiative forcing and public health of alternative urban interventions encompassing their total cost (both external and internal). The mobile App (available through Apple Store and Google Play) provides real-time information on ambient air levels and individual intake rates for key airborne pollutants, as well as a carbon footprint calculator aiming to modulate citizen behaviour towards more environment-friendly and sustainable urban lifestyle.
ICARUS key results were presented in ca. 100 international scientific meetings and conferences. Twenty-one articles in peer-reviewed international journals and proceedings were published and another ca. forty articles submitted for publication. Sessions titled “Climate change mitigation and air pollution abatement – towards win-win solutions” were organized by ICARUS in the frame of the MESAEP Symposia in 2017 and 2020. Three policy briefs were released to support the revision of the Air Quality directive and to face the Covid-19 crisis highlighting the connection of Covid-19 dispersion with urban air pollution and climate. This work has been used in the frame of the Covid-19 Risk Evaluation platform offered to the OECD via the Hellenic government to support governmental decision making for managing the health risk of the pandemic.
Around 110 meetings with local stakeholders have been organised in the ICARUs cities on the sensor campaigns, the collection of emission data, the air quality and climate change mitigation policies/measures, and the long-term city visions. Key exploitable results include the ICARUS DSS, the mobile App, the Policy Briefs and recommendations for policy makers, the scientific publications as well as the methods and models developed such as the weather clustering algorithms source apportionment and ABM models, and open data sets generated including both observational and experimental data (e.g. environmental data collected in the frame of the measurement campaigns) as well as models and simulations results (e.g. emission inventories, air pollution and climate change simulation data, exposure, health impact and cost benefit data, etc.).
Both scientific publications and research data have been made publicly open and can be freely accessed from our data repository at
The media coverage and dissemination in print media, videos, television and social media is available on the project website.
Key innovative achievements are:
1. High spatial resolution activity-emission factor tables for EU Member States from 2015 to 2030, and an emission model capable of estimating the changes of emissions that occur when urban policies are implemented across Europe.
2. Development of the data fusion approach across the impact pathway reducing the residual uncertainty.
3. Development of agent-based modelling platform for urban systems informed from wearable technology sensors to capture individual spatio-temporal behaviours in order to model individual exposure taking into account societal dynamics.
4. Use of biology-based methodology to estimate intake and internal dose and assess health impacts, rather than using only well-established concentration-response functions.
5. Promotion of citizen science making them an active part of the ICARUS research team.
6. Creation of a DSS for decision-makers to support integrated impact assessment of win-win solutions addressing urban air quality and climate change across Europe.
7. Creation and commercialisation of a mobile App (RQuality) for citizens furnishing real-time data on personal exposure to hazardous air pollutants and comprehensive estimation of carbon footprint.
The ICARUS integrated system and associated toolbox are expected to have positive socio-economic impacts contributing to more cost-effective environmental management by prioritizing the interventions with the maximum benefit:investment ratio, enhanced urban resilience and reduced costs associated with the health burden from air pollution and climate change encompassing citizen behavioural change. In the long term the vision for green, smart and healthy cities proposed by ICARUS could contribute to the goals of the Smart Cities and Communities focus area.
The ICARUS Decision Support System (DSS)
Overview of the sensors used in the ICARUS exposure campaigns
The ICARUS RQuality mobile App
Framework for exposure assessment at personal/community level using ABM
Gridded NOx emissions from residential combustion (incl. mobile) for 2015 and 2030