Making Sense: Empowering community action with participatory sensing through design

Saskia Coulson, Melanie Woods, Michelle Scott, Drew Hemment

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Bria el al. (2015) have argued for participatory sensing (open data capture through digital platforms) using technology can assist and inspire citizens in driving environmental change. Evidence of this new approach is found in the rise of environmental sensors currently available on the market, i.e. Air Quality Egg, which allows people to record and upload information about their environment to a global online database. However, previous work with communities who used sensing technologies have revealed a number of challenges that hinder the uptake, sustainability and impact of crowdsensing practices and systems. This paper examines a study aimed at overcoming some of the challenges associated with the sustainability and impact of environmental participatory sensing. Our approach is to merge the fields of participatory sensing and design, and explore how transformation design can add an important dynamic in the framing of participatory sensing. It conceptualises the way in which communities increase awareness of environmental issues and take action to effect positive change. We present a study conducted across three European cities with citizens who were concerned about environmental challenges. Our contribution describes an approach and range of methods for supporting action and change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017
Event Creativity World Forum 2017: Creativity Cities and Neighborhoods of Opportunity - Aarhus, Denmark
Duration: 1 Nov 20172 Nov 2017


Conference Creativity World Forum 2017
Internet address


  • Participatory sensing
  • transformation design
  • urban environmental challenges
  • citizen science


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