Humans are visual creatures: Human understanding and human action substantially rely on visual information about the state of the world and on visual feedback about its changes. The importance of visual representation is increasingly being recognized in the environmental context, in particular for problems whose causes are not easily visible. Emissions-Visualization-Action [EVA] proposes to examine the potential of citizen-centered visualization techniques of emissions for inciting environmental action in one of the most polluted regions in the European Union.
EVA will deploy in the Upper Silesian Coal Basin (USCB) an array of complementary and partially novel measurement approaches, from highly portable air pollution sensors to emissions-detecting cameras to remote sensing data, that provide visualizations of different pollutants, from particulate matter to methane, in a single target region. This deployment will produce the first deliverable of the project, a hyperlocal multi-layered emissions map of a globally important emissions hotspot. This allows a first understanding of the complex spatial patterns of sources of different emissions that jointly determine the air pollution burden.
EVA will also employ field- and lab-experimental methods in which individuals face different opportunities to be selectively exposed to visualizations of air quality, among them the hyper-local emissions map and smartphone displays of personal air quality sensors. This will produce EVA’s second deliverable, an understanding of the demand for personalized visualized emissions among citizens, of citizens’ attempts to attribute, in a complex spatial setting, pollution to sources and of the causal relationships between pollutants, their visualization, and action. Jointly, the two deliverables provide the basis for evaluating the scale and scope of emissions visualization for environmental action. The interdisciplinary work between environmental physicists, economists, and psychologists in the project will generate a track record of collaboration, prior work, and joint publications for a possible application for a CRC (SFB).
Prof. Dr. Timo Goeschl
Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences,