Christian Coste
responsable du département Air-Odeurs-Santé
Published on April 16, 2019

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How to measure city air better

Cities are settling in for the long term with urban densification, entailing an increasing number of city-centre construction projects. While these projects may be necessary to upgrade road, railway or port infrastructure, redesign household waste collection and processing or improve wastewater, drinking water or power networks, they can all be a source of disruption to the population.

Comment mieux mesurer la qualité de l’air en ville ?

- Crédits : nicoleta ionescu - thinkstock

For years, residents have been subjected to pollution and nuisance without being able to act before the event, but only by complaining once it is happening. This feeling of dealing with a fait accompli is often decried by resident associations who feel undervalued or quite simply ignored. At Egis, we take care to offer people the means to interact on a daily basis to build their city of tomorrow. This is why we have developed a specific web platform christened Smart Environmental System, which centralises comments and feedback supplied by residents themselves on their smartphone – combining them with measurements taken by site sensors – and communicating them in real time. This can apply to air, but also to noise or to vibrations.

smartphones at the ready

Designed specifically to monitor construction sites, industrial facilities, infrastructure, business parks or residential developments, the solution allows the project owner to comply better with legal requirements and address the concerns of residents, who are becoming more perceptibly watchful of their living conditions.

In the area of air quality, each observation is fed into a database which can be consulted and added to at any time by citizens, government and industrial firms so as to create a space for sharing information and monitoring air quality. This repository is then connected to a pollutant atmospheric dispersion model offering a real-time view of environmental impact mapping. Predictive forecasting also allows us to implement preventive actions, such as, for example, rescheduling a particular phase of work to reduce its impact. 

Air under surveillance

This is the reasoning behind Egis’ studies relating to plans for a business park in the Gare des Mines-Fillettes district of Paris’ 18th arrondissement. The project is part of the major urban regeneration programme for north-east Paris (GPRU - PNE) and aims to reset the connection between Paris and its neighbouring suburbs. The impact on air quality of traffic redistribution will vary depending on road modifications (addition / removal of sections) and also on how traffic speeds, density and users are redistributed. It is therefore essential to ascertain that the population benefits from this new reorganisation of traffic, that sensitive individuals are not subjected to increased exposure and that any adversely-affected areas are those with the lowest populations and continue to enjoy satisfactory air quality.

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