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Local government uses air quality data to create policies to improve health and well-being of residents

The administrative offices in the Province of South Holland are tasked to oversee the most populous province in The Netherlands. Their core tasks include among others creating and enacting legislations and policies for sustainable spatial development; environment, energy and climate management; and quality of public administration. They provide residents with public services such as acquiring licenses, processing of legal documents and addressing grievances.

After the country adopted a Smart City Strategy which encourages towns and cities to develop pilot programs for a range of different areas such as improvements of air quality and smart and healthy urbanization, they started looking for ways to promote health and well-being for the residents in South Holland.

Challenges:

As the province continues to expand and the pressure on public amenities and infrastructure is growing, the local government knew it was time to take action and leverage on a new technology to help them tackle the challenge of improving air quality. They understood that they needed to first understand the quality of the air that the residents are breathing so they can develop better policies and strategies to adopt.

In order to have a more comprehensive evaluation, they needed to understand outdoor air quality and its influence on indoor air quality. They decided to conduct an experiment where they installed uHoo devices not just in the administrative offices but also in some of the residents’ homes where they are given access to measure and monitor the air quality.

Benefits Achieved:

The project was the first of its kind in EU where citizens allowed sharing personal data to the local government, for the purpose of creating better legislations to improve the environment and air quality. The residents who took part in the initiative understood that data sharing was an essential input to the policy-making process.

With localized air quality data from uHoo, government officials were able to identify and prioritize issues to address to protect public health as well as the environment. They were able to analyze the trends and patterns within certain neighborhoods and city blocks and also identify sources of air pollution.

This also led to more transparency between the local government and the citizens of the Province of South Holland which paved the way for more efficient implementation of policies for the environment and the health and safety of the people.

Bottomline Results

Improving air quality may be the government’s accountability, but the officials in the Province of South Holland successfully made it a shared responsibility with the citizens.

As local leaders work on this challenge, it is critical that health and safety are primary considerations. Even in towns and cities that might meet health-based standards, air pollution can burden or even shorten residents’ lives. Utilizing localized data to forge evidence-based policies gives the residents confidence that their leaders are working to build healthy and sustainable communities.

“Beautiful to see how uHoo picks this up and contributes to a smarter, cleaner, stronger South Holland. We wholeheartedly support them.” Rik Jansen, Deputy of the Province of South Holland

 

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