For the AirCastingBrussels project, the VUB and BRAL lead residents of Brussels to measure the air quality in the city for 3 years in order to map and to chart air pollution levels. In “Citizen Science”, da Schio, Chemin and Cassiers expand on this process and discuss, amongst others, the design and methods they had employed. In addition, a number of similar civil science projects such as the Curious Noses, are also clarified. “AirCastingBrussels was an educational process for all involved. We would now like to share that knowledge in this book. It really is a guide on the use of civil science”, says da Schio.
The book is a plea to encourage citizens to participate more in policy formulation (urban democracy). According to the authors, that does not happen enough today, as there is a knowledge barrier between citizens and policymakers. Da Schio explains:
“When the board makes a decision, (scientific) research is always done first. That is obviously good, but the information and insights gained from these studies are not sufficiently fed back to the citizens. Because they do not have access to this knowledge, they often remain outside the decision-making process. By putting citizens in touch with scientists, they acquire knowledge and are better equipped to provide the necessary data the board is looking for. This empowers it. Citizen science, therefore, enhances democracy because we give a voice to people that are often not heard. It also broadens our horizons: citizens often have a different view of subjects than scientists do. "
Note for the media:
The multilingual book (NL-FR-EN) “Citizen Science - collective knowledge empowers” will be launched on Thursday, 27 June 2019, at 13:30 during the Eurêka event at Muntpunt (Munt 6 - 1000 Brussels). The event is co-organized by Periferia and City Mine(d).
In conjunction with the book launch, a workshop on civil science will be presented. Will you be visiting or would you like to speak to one of the authors? Feel free to contact Lies Feron, media relations VUB (email@example.com or 0484 590 550)
13:30 – 14:30: Book launch + Q&A
14:30 – 16:00: Workshop: “How to integrate citizen science in social or environmental actions”