The City of Haifa will participate in a pan-European project called CITI-SENSE
aimed at increasing cooperation and awareness regarding air
Officially called “CITISENSE – Development of sensor-based
Citizens’ Observatory Community for improving quality of life in cities, “the
project encourages citizens in participant cities to contribute to their
environmental governance through resident-based environmental monitoring and
information systems. Headquartered at the Norwegian Institute for Air Research
in Kjeller, Norway, the project involves 27 partner institutions from Europe,
South Korea, Australia and Israel that will launch the program in nine cities:
Haifa, Belgrade, Ljubljana, Oslo, Barcelona, Ostrava, Edinburgh, Vienna and
The project’s budget is over 12 million euros and it will rely on
sensor technologies for distributed monitoring, information and communication
technology platforms, informational services and citizen involvement to both
monitor air and make societal decisions.
CITI-SENSE is part of the
Seventh Framework Program for Research and Technological Development (FP7), the
European Union’s 8.1 billion euro instrument for funding research in Europe and
its partners in areas like environmental protection, human health, waste
management and urbanization, according to the EU.
The two Israeli
institutions working to deploy the Haifa system are the start-up Air- Base
Systems and the Technion, led by Prof. David Broday and Prof. Barak Fishbain, of
the Environmental, Water and Agricultural Engineering Department at the
At the heart of the project will be the concept of the “Citizen
Observatory,” which will enable the active participation of the public in data
collection and provide easily accessible information to enhance their
decision-making capabilities, according to a joint statement from AirBase and
“The research opens new horizons for measuring air
pollutants, very high resolutions and in exact time in areas and times that we
are exposed to pollution and can become affected by its harmful
characteristics,” Broday said.
“The innovative concept of ‘citizen
monitoring’ offers partnerships between academia, industry, the public and
decision-makers, while building a community that is aware, understanding,
connected and has the ability to make change and reduce personal exposure to air
Irad Kuhnreich, the CEO and founder of AirBase, which
develops advanced air quality censors, went as far as to call the CITI-SENSE
project a catalyst for a “technological kfitzat haderech
(shortcut),” in air
monitoring, referring to the kabbalistic term for miraculously jumping from one
place to a distant other at warp speed.
“Involvement, participation and
transparency are going to be major milestones in collecting and presenting
environmental information in the 21st century, and CITI-SENSE implements this
practice for the first time ever,” Kuhnreich said.
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