Air quality is one of the crucial environmental aspects in urban regions that affect our living environment, health and the quality of life. The UIA HOPE project - Healthy Outdoor Premises for Everyone - is about promoting a healthy urban environment in collaboration of different actors from local government and citizens to businesses and scientists. It deals with advancing the current air quality monitoring network with the help of citizens to gain spatiotemporally accurate information on environmental conditions where people live and travel. Three core districts with varying air quality challenges are in the focus of the project: Jätkäsaari with heavy port-related traffic, Vallila with an active urban street canyon, and suburban Pakila with domestic wood burning and transit traffic.
Within the project, our action in the Digital Geography Lab is linked to the development of a Green Paths routing tool. The aim is to suggest pleasant walking and cycling routes in Helsinki urban region by reducing exposure to air pollution and traffic noise and increasing exposure to street-level greenery. Green Paths routing tool is based on near-real-time air quality data derived from the Enfuser model that is developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute, modelled traffic noise data based on an assessment and modelling conducted in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in 2017, and street-level greenery that is derived from street view images and land cover data. Read more about the routing tool from here.
Check out the Green Paths routing tool and find pleasant routes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area!
Next to developing the routing tool, we aim to understand how the residents in Helsinki metropolitan area are exposed to both pollution as well as health-benefiting urban greenery during their commuting trips, and how equally accessible pleasant travel routes are for different socio-spatial population groups. We see that Green Paths routing tool and travel-time environmental exposure assessment more broadly can support spatial and transport planning as they allow evaluating if access to healthy and pleasant urban travel is equally available in space.
Joose Helle, software developer
Age Poom, postdoctoral researcher
Elias Willberg, PhD student
Tuuli Toivonen, professor
Further contact: Age Poom, age.poom(at)helsinki.fi.
Helle, J. (2021). Uusi reittiopas ohjaa viihtyisämmille kävely- ja pyöräreiteille. Positio 1/2021. https://www.maanmittauslaitos.fi/tietoa-maanmittauslaitoksesta/ajankohtaista/lehdet-ja-julkaisut/positio/uusi-reittiopas-ohjaa-viihtyisammille-reiteille
Poom, A., Helle, J., & Toivonen, T. (2020). Journey planners can promote active, healthy and sustainable urban travel. Urbaria Summaries Series, Vol. 2020, No. 6. Helsingin yliopisto, Kaupunkitutkimusinstituutti Urbaria. https://www2.helsinki.fi/sites/default/files/atoms/files/age_poom_joose_helle_tuuli_toivonen_journey_planners_can_promote_active_healthy_and_sustainable_urban_travel.pdf
Poom, A., Helle, J., Willberg, E. & Toivonen, T. 2021. Examining environmental exposure during travel – routing tool and population-level analysis. Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on CUPUM – Computational Urban Planning and Urban Management, June 9-11, 2021, Espoo, Finland
Poom, A., Helle, J., Willberg, E., & Toivonen, T. (2021). Green Paths -reittiopas auttaa löytämään miellyttävimmät reitit pääkaupunkiseudulla. Ilmansuojelu, 2021(1), 14-17. https://issuu.com/ilmansuojelu/docs/is_1_2021_issuu
Poom, A., Willberg, E., & Toivonen, T. (2021). Environmental exposure during travel: A research review and suggestions forward. Health & Place, 70, 102584. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102584
UIA HOPE project is co-funded by the Urban Innovative Actions programme of the European Union. The project is led by the City of Helsinki and has several partnering institutions and companies from the Helsinki region. The project lasts for 2019-2022.