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Participatory Urban Living for Sustainable Environments

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PULSE (Participatory Urban Living for Sustainable Environments)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2020-04-30

Air quality is a major issue for European public health, the economy and the environment. Air pollution is predicted to worsen under the influence of climate change. The latter already impacts many physical and biological
systems, including the immunological and respiratory systems critical to human health. On the other hand, factors driving the increased incidence of T2D include urbanization, sedentary lifestyle and obesity (more than 80% of
people diagnosed with T2D are either overweight or obese).
PULSE has engaged in a collaborative dialogue with a range of stakeholders across seven global cities -Paris, Barcelona, Birmingham, New York City, Singapore, Pavia and Keelung- to transform public health from a reactive to a predictive system focused on both risk and resilience. In terms of public health risk, the project is focussed on the potential relation between air pollution and the respiratory disease of Asthma, and between physical inactivity and the metabolic disease of Type 2 Diabetes. In terms of public health resilience, PULSE is focussed on well-being in communities. The final goal has been to build extensible models and technologies to predict, mitigate and manage public health problems, and promote population health in cities.
To accomplish the transformation of public health systems, and stimulate the development of intersectoral policy in cities, PULSE leverages large amounts of data from city governments, health systems, and citizens. Beyond the collection of existing data, PULSE has undertaken the following:
• implementation of a novel environmental/health surveillance system on air quality within specific neighbourhoods and model risk of exposure to polluted air for citizens, especially those with asthma;
• development of novel insights on the relationship between risk for the onset of T2D and environmental and behavioural factors;
• collection of comprehensive data on individual and community well-being;
• mode public health risk and resilience and develop tools and technologies to intervene and change behaviour – translating Big Data to Policy – with the municipal leaders of the seven involved cities.
PULSE project has been completed in 42 months. The Consortium achieved to have a final integrated system composed by heterogeneous types of artefacts (i.e. apps, activity trackers, environmental sensors, satellite maps, AI models and simulators) to be used in a broad context of Public Health. The core innovations of the project are the health risk models (Asthma and Type 2 Diabetes), the wellbeing assessment models and the exposure model. The technology has been validated at two time points of the project: during the first phase of the project and with the results of a total of 1638 citizens and 104 stakeholders engaged in the 7 cities. Then, a second round of recruitment was done to included 173 new citizens and 87 stakeholders for a total of 1811 citizens and 191 stakeholders involved during the project. The collected data has been used to be able to improve the digital tools in the last part of the project in which experiments and acquisitions have been performed. PULSE procured and deployed in testbed cities 68 various devices for measuring/sensing levels of air quality (pollutants) and other environmental parameters (air temperature and relative humidity and pressure, ambient noise) once in every 1-3 minutes, totalling to over 43 million currently measured values. Some of the device types (PurpleAIR, AirBox) are organized in fixed grids measuring basic PM pollution, while others (DunavNET) are more advanced, measuring also gaseous pollutants (NO2, SO2, CO, O3) and usable as portable/mobile. PULSE has created new digital tools for the Observatory: a Community of Practice and a Learning Tool where where the users can access the Big Data to Policy online course. The different dissemination activities have positioned the project in the urban innovation stakeholder community through targeted actions making urban innovators from public authorities (specifically Public Health Organisations), practitioners, researchers and citizens aware of the PULSE offer. The business and exploitation plan of the project has been devised, including the market analysis, the elicitation of the exploitable results after having identified the potential routes for use and commercialization, the targets and potential partners to cooperate with as well as the sustainability plan.
Consistent with the move to data-driven smart cities, and the adoption of ICT platforms in cities that enable the development and integration of multiple apps within the urban environment, PULSE has demonstrated the value of Big Data for government, citizens, businesses and communities within the context of an open data framework. PULSE adopted a data driven approach based on the integration of multisource and multi domain data. The information was used to generate geospatial and aggregated statistics to assess neighbourhoods. Even if it was not possible to perform a formal clinical study to assess the health benefits of the technological developments, the final validation activity highlighted the opportunity of a system like PULSE to be used in primary care.The risk assessment tools are the enablers of the actionable data: in the dashboards it is possible to target specific messages and contents according to the specific health risk of a user. Oher tools as geo-spatial analytics, visual correlation tools and simulations tools can be also used to assess cities and population. About the uptake opportunities, health-risk models are based on general retrospective data and can be applied to any population of the world, as PULSE demonstrated, having pilots in three out of five continents. Air quality and climate modelling, as well as personal exposure assessment, can be deployed to any city willing to infrastructure its territory with a dense network of monitors. Moreover, it is well known that air pollution and heat waves are connected to the exacerbation of several pathologies, out of those considered by PULSE, therefore the technology developed by PULSE can for sure be adapted and contribute to the mitigation of other health risks. Finally, spatial enablement, being the capability of generating maps from tabular data in the form of a WebGIS, which was extensively adopted in PULSE is increasingly applied to numerous topics and could be usefully applied to monitoring and controlling the spread of epidemics.