Community Science, Data Accessibility
Why is this useful?
Air pollution policy can only succeed with a high level of community engagement, and those most likely to become engaged are those who are most directly impacted by pollution [16, 9]. A significant amount of research has shown that the main producers of urban pollution are highly concentrated in disadvantaged, poor, and minority communities . Therefore, these communities have the most potential to drive fruitful policy development if they are engaged in the process effectively.
Community engagement regarding air pollution has historically been a challenge due to the high cost of air monitoring technology . However, the emergence of low-cost sensors creates opportunities for community-based organizations to collect data and perform community science . Data by itself lacks the power to inform communities, and thus data communication becomes a foundational challenge in driving engagement. Interactive data visualization provides a powerful outlet to present this data to these communities, empowering those affected to advocate for themselves. Visualization becomes a tool that can educate the people, allowing them to inform each other, which ultimately helps inform decision-making. This develops a combination of knowledge, skills, values, and motivation to make a difference and allows for robust civic engagement and participation.