AIR BREAK- Co-producing healthy clean commuting air spots in town
“The challenge for protecting the environment and improving the quality of the air we breathe will be crucial for the next years. It is a battle that concerns the health and quality of life of millions of European citizens and, for this reason, mayors and administrators have to accept this challenge. With the "Air Break" project, Ferrara intends to embark on an ambitious task alongside its citizens. Because there is no result that can be achieved without participation, enthusiasm and cooperation between administrators and citizens involved”.
According to the last “Air quality in Europe” report by the European Environment Agency, currently air pollution is the most important environmental risk to human health, responsible for about 412.000 premature deaths. In early 2019, the Po River Valley in northern Italy, including the Emilia Romagna (ER) region, was one of the most air-polluted areas in the World with high levels of CO and among the highest concentrations of NO2, up to 200 µmol/m2, similar to the biggest global metropoles. The city of Ferrara, located in the ER region, is among the worst affected, with serious health and environmental problems. In the period 2012-2016, Ferrara was the fifth worst area in Italy in terms of cancer mortality (103th out of 107 provinces) and the first for acute myocardial infarction (107th out of 107). Despite having a beautiful and well-organized historical city centre (UNESCO-World Cultural Heritage since 1995), the whole city is characterized by:
- a fragmented urbanisation, distributed on a large flat area > 405 Km2, including 30 small towns in the surroundings;
- lack of an adequate mobility infrastructure, hindering the connections between the centre and the surrounding areas,
- low bike lanes per surface ratio, i.e. 450 m of bike lanes/km2, compared to similar cities in ER (e.g.Reggio Emilia has >1000m /Km2), and a disconnected bike lanes network, further complicating the commuting,
- a high motorization rate - 622 cars/1.000 inhabitants (higher than national averages), iv) the presence of a big industrial settlement (employing > 1700 staff + 700 external workers) in the North-WestDistrict, subject to substantial commuting flows.
AIRBREAK promises to tackle air quality issues in Ferrara, such as commuting issues, lack of urban greenery, lack of detailed and updated information about air quality, with an evidence/data based strategy and citizen-centric approach, integrating a set of innovative and tailor-based solutions. Through a holistic, bottom-up approach, AIRBREAK will involve citizens and stakeholders at the centre of the new development, going beyond air quality data collection and monitoring approach and implementing, for the first time in Ferrara, concrete actions aimed at transforming “dark-high-emission zones” in “green-augmented-healthy zones”.
The general objective of the project is to contribute to the implementation of European, National and local policies on air quality and sustainability, through a set of innovative measures to reduce the air pollution in the cityof Ferrara, improving the quality of life of Ferrara citizens. To achieve its main goal, the project will aim at achieving the following Specific Objectives:
- Increase knowledge on air pollution distribution, and ensure more effective monitoring and decision capabilities of the public administration and citizens in Ferrara by a multi-source data collection and the installation of a newnetwork of IoTsensors.
- Reduce the impact of air pollution in the Ferrara areas, by applying a set of mitigation strategies which includes nature-base solutions and alternatives sustainable transport systems.
- Reduce emissions related to vehicle mobility, by incentivizing use of alternative and sustainable soft and smart mobility solutions with a clean commuting approach
- Increase the green areas in critical spots of the town including rain/bus station, the citycenter, along the cycling network and congested roads and other relevant aggregation points.
- Raise awareness of citizens and city users about the environmental-health issues in relation with air pollution and increasing their active participation involving them in a co-design and co-creation process;
- Induce a behavioural change among citizens and cityusers bygamification methods and rewarding mechanisms.
- Ensure sustainability and ownership of all proposed solutions after the project’s end, by carefully selecting the most cost-effective ones, integrating them in the MOF’s plans, and developing a robust alliance between citizens and the local administration
- Promote AIR BREAK integrated model as example for replication in Italy and European cities, by demonstrating the innovative solutions and communicating the project results to a wide set of target groups.
The project lays its innovation on the integration of complementary solutions:
- providing in-depth knowledge about air pollution distribution in Ferrara by developing a reliable sensors network and a newData Infrastructure for a rapid data access, allowing local administration to plan specific interventions
- providing innovative models to incentivize clean commuting and soft mobility, thus lowering the emissions
- introducing Nature Based (NB) and Smart Solutions to drastically reduce air pollutants in critical spots of the town
- engaging citizens and stakeholders in a co-creation approach based on innovative gamification and rewarding mechanisms.
- Municipality of Ferrara;
- 2 universities: University of Ferrara; Polytechnic of Milan;
- 1 public agency: S.I.PRO. Ferrara Development Agency;
- 2 private organisations: HERA S.p.A; Dedagroup Public Services;
- 1 SME: Lab Service Analytica srl;
- 1 research institution: Bruno Kessler Foundation
By the synergy of the above solutions AIRBREAK intends to reduce by 25% air pollution in selected areas of the city, laying the base for future scale-up and replication strategies. During the last 5 years Ferrara set-up a process aiming to become a smart and sustainable city. The successful implementation of the AIRBREAK project will bring Ferrara a major step forward towards this objective, contributing as other cities in the Emilia Romagna region, to reduce the air pollution in this highly critical area. To demonstrate at the end of the project the following main results will be achieved:
- An established monitoring system based on available data (from ARPAE) and new data from an implemented network of sensors (including from citizens);
- Improved air qualitylevels in selected critical areas of the cities - Increased number of people preferring soft mobility ;
- Reduced emissions byreducing car traffic and congested areas - Improved commuting in strategic areas of the city;
- Improved perception ofwell-being among citizens especiallyin the newgreen areas and along the smart-cycle paths;
- Increased participation of citizens in the social life and urban planning decisions (Living labs, associations);
- Improved strategic decision power of MOFbased on the data acquired during the projectwith the integration/modification of the current urban plans with more sustainable solutions.
During the last 5 years Ferrara set-up a process aiming to become a smart and sustainable city. The successful implementation of the AIRBREAK project will bring Ferrara a major step forward towards this objective, contributing as other cities in the Emilia Romagna region, to reduce the air pollution in this highlycritical area.
To demonstrate at the end of the project the following main results will be achieved:
- An established monitoring system based on available data and new data from an implemented network of sensors (including from citizens)
- Improved air quality levels in selected critical areas of the cities
- Increased number of people preferring soft mobility
- Reduced emissions by reducing car traffic and congested areas
- Improved commuting in strategic areas of the city
- Improved perception of well-being among citizens especially in the newgreen areas and along the smart-cycle paths
- Increased participation of citizens in the social life and urban planning decisions (Living labs, associations)
- Improved strategic decision power of the Municipality of Ferrara Fbased on the data acquired during the project with the integration/modification of the current urban plans with more sustainable solutions
- February 2021: Installation of air quality data sensors
- June 2022: Installation of a newfully equipped smart-cycle path and of 4 smart hubs
- June 2023: Plantation of new high-absorbing tree species