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1. Introduction

The goal of the project is to add alternative layers of perception and overload our sensorial apparatus not only to create awareness about the data itself but also to learn what the city might be sensing. According to De Certeau , ordinary people experience the city by walking. De Certeau was referring to human activities and the variety of tactics people used to overcome the proper use of space defined by urban planners and the city infrastructure.

What can be said of the unstructured stories of non-human agents present in the urban environment e. All of these features have an effect on and are impacted by, human activities in the urban environment.

The air quality, for instance, is perceived by humans in many different sensorial ways skin, respiratory system, taste, smell, and sight — it is an immediate embodied experience. That is, our body is directly affected by what is contained in air, including pollution particles. Experiencing the world in ways different than those prescribed by society can be pretty revealing. Though Benjamin does not make any direct apology for drug use or abuse , the quote at the beginning of his essay introduces the state of mind and body of one that adventures to try it:.

Research and Applications

Instead of chemical substances, this project makes use of a digital tool to assist users in this exploration. With current technologies, we also experience air quality through an arbitrary numeric scale based on electronic sensors in the city, usually to identify patterns, observe trends, and create strategies to manage the environment and mitigate possible health-related problems.

That is, we rely on machines to collect and convert data into an appropriate scale to inform us about any danger. However, this disembodied experience distances ourselves from other possible stories these non-human agents might have been telling. This project proposes to take a different look at the air quality data; through a synesthetic experiment, the meditated sensation of its numeric scale is translated to be perceived also as sound and image.

Synesthesia is an involuntary neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Thus, in addition to the natural way we sense air, extra layers of the same information will be available to users. The goal of the project is to overload our senses in order to create awareness and learn different ways to perceive this specific spatial feature.

For this project, I developed a mobile web application using public data made available by the city of Montreal, and the audio, video, and geo-locative features of a mobile phone. There are a variety of applications and services that take on environmental data, especially weather and temperature, both for mobile and desktop computer Weather, The Weather Network, The Weather Channel, etc. Most of them are functional dashboards to convey temperature, precipitation, climate trends, and general instantaneous information about the weather in different locations.

Air quality index is often present to notify of any risks, particularly for people with health issues, children, and the elderly, but usually neglected by most people. The locative feature is also very common to many mobile applications, especially as a way to find routes and venues e. The app allows users to record sounds around them, attaching photographs and GPS coordinates to the file.

Synaesthesia is a rare experience, though one already explored in the context of mobile technologies. Each colour triggers a different sound or instrument. The app adds an auditory dimension to a feature that we usually only perceive with our eyes. The strength of critical making is the act of shared construction itself as an activity and a site for enhancing and extending conceptual understanding of critical socio-technical issues.

However, what is the point of a research methodological approach that locks itself in the laboratory of academia?


Perceiving Environmental Quality: Research and Application - Google книги

Indeed, the prototype should not be considered a well-rendered product for public consumption. Still, it might be used as a strategy to create opportunities for reflexive perspectives not only for designers and researchers but also for other potential users. Thus, this project, including its code and designs, was made publicly available since its inception. The mobile app consists of three components: air quality index, coding, and a graphic interface.

The data is updated hourly and every request delivers the log of each station during the current day. This is important because the user receives the data from the station nearest they are at the time they access the mobile app. The city has 19 stations spread throughout the city to measure the concentration of fine particles in the air and several different pollutants, such as carbon monoxide CO , ozone O 3 , sulphur dioxide SO 2 , and nitrogen dioxide NO 2.

Not all stations are active at all times, and some pollutants are not captured by all stations. Only indexes are available; however, the city explains how it is calculated, thus, the actual concentration measures can be inferred by simply reversing the equation. The decision to make it as a web app as opposed to a native mobile app iOS, Android has to do with accessibility and the availability of tools to build prototypes.

In addition to custom-made scripts to retrieve, compute, and display data, I have used JavaScript libraries for sound and video manipulation, specifically Seriously. Furthermore, as asserted by Azjen and Fishbein [8], on the basis of different experiences and different normative beliefs, people may form different beliefs on the consequences of performing a behavior. These beliefs, in turn determine attitudes and subjective norms which then determine intention and the corresponding behavior.

As illustrated in figure 5, better understanding of a behavior can be gained by tracing its determinants back to underlying beliefs, and thus influence the behavior by changing a adequate number of these beliefs. The model gives further explanations as to how good intentions for the environment are not enough in themselves to propel an action. Attitudes and subjective norms, as seen in figure 5, contribute to behavioral intentions, which can be used to predict behavior.

The social environment has been proven to mediate the consequence of environmental attitude on environmental behaviors [13]. The Planned Behavior Theory was proposed by [14], this model of planned environmental behavior considers the intention to act and objective situational factor as direct determinants of pro-environmental behavior. The Intention itself is considered summarizing the interplay of cognitive variables which include; knowledge of action strategies and issues, action skills as well as personality variables locus of control, attitudes and personal responsibility.

Qualitative Environmental Health Research: An Analysis of the Literature, 1991–2008

The Planned Behavior Theory grew out of the Theory of Reasoned Action and it suggests that human behavior is influenced by three belief constructs: beliefs about consequences; expectations of others and things that may support or prevent behavior[15]. A strong premise of the theory is that, at the conceptual level, links among influences on behavior and their effects are captured through one of the components of the model or relationships in the model. The application of this model to this study is that, the model provides further explanations into the connection between knowledge, attitude, behavioral intention and actual behavior as they influence waste management practices.

This model was proposed by Hungerford and Volk [7].

The Hungerford Volk Model arrays three stages of educational involvement ranging from first exposure entry to real involvement empowerment , and then suggests that each stage has certain knowledge and attitude characteristics. In the Environmental Citizenship Model, Hungerford and Tomera grouped the variables that influence whether a person takes action into three categories, as evident in Figure 6. These are;. This theory is vitally important because of its potential to evolve a citizenry that is touched with the feelings of the environment, who will bear its burdens to the extent of possessing skills that can enable them act in the interest of the environment.

One popular environmental variable for instance is that of solid waste. This theory could become applicable such that whether it be purchase of goods or undertaking of services, one thing will be paramount in the minds of the citizens; sustainability of the environment. Similarly, when it comes to the generation, disposal and management of wastes; citizens will be most concerned with a sustainable manner of waste generation and management hinged on avoidance, reduction, reuse and recycling.

In application, the Hungerford Volk Model identifies numerous variables required to be an environmentally literate citizen. Secondly, the model provides a basis for the classification and separation of environmental literacy variables according to their importance either as a major variable or a minor variable.

Environmental psychology

The model of human interaction with the environment was proposed by Hammond in [16]. This model describes four interactions between human activity and the environment. This model expresses how the human activities bear imprints on the environment. While this model concerns itself with the entirety of human activities, knowledge of interacting variables in the model enhances understanding of possible outcomes for different behaviours within the environment.

The value-belief-norm VBN theory of environmentalism has its roots in some of the above theoretical accounts linking value theory, norm-activation theory, and the New Environmental Paradigm NEP perspective through a causal chain of five variables leading to behavior: personal values especially altruistic values , shown in figure 8. This chain of five variables, grouped into categories of values, beliefs, and norms; influences whether a person is likely to adopt some environmental behaviors.

VBN theory measures from other theories to account for three types of nonactivist environmentalism: these include environmental citizenship, private-sphere behavior, and policy support willingness to sacrifice [17]. The discovery was that the VBN cluster of variables was far stronger in predicting each behavioral indicator than the other theories, even when other theories were taken in combination [18]. On the VBN, behavior that will be environmentally significant is dauntingly complex, both in its variety and in the causal influences on it.

Stern affirmed that, while a general theory is still yet to be arrived at, enough is known to present a framework that can increase theoretical coherence. This framework will include typologies of environmentally significant behaviors and their causes and a growing set of empirical propositions about these variables [18]. The Value Belief Norm theory, among the hitherto discussed theories, provides a more elucidative explanation of the human- environment interaction and how these interactions can affect each other, taking into consideration a relatively ample number of variables responsible for cause and action.

Furthermore, the theory is well applicable to this study because:.