Due the COVID19 crisis, all activities of CitieS-Health pilot projects with citizens have been stopped and new studies during the pandemic were considered but discarded. The affectation and plans are strongly city-dependent. The pilot project coordinators have evaluated the recoverable and non-recoverable delays and have planned online activities in some cities. The Italian study will conduct seroprevalence tests and new questions in questionnaires have been developed in some cities.
In the Barcelona pilot project we already have the co-designed research question. Mental health has been the most voted health issue in the latest poll. Specifically, participants have shown interest not only in air pollution, but also in how it affects noise and the presence of green spaces or the sea. In the next phases of the pilot, activities will be carried out to collect data that serve to answer the following research question: How it affects the combination of air pollution, noise and the presence of green / blue spaces in mental health? Data collection has been postponed due to the COVID19 crisis, but we expect to start it soon. On the other hand, on June 18th we have organized an online workshop on governance to discuss how to conduct our research process in the fairest and most transparent way. We have raised issues such as the role that a citizen committee could play throughout the pilot, how we can and should use the data in the experiment or how participants would be willing to share their data with other research projects to continue contributing to citizen science.
The Lucca pilot project aims is to study the link between environmental pollution and health. The approach used in this pilot is a participatory one. Each phase of the research, started with the definition of the objectives, has been discussed and conducted together with the citizens. In the first phase, the citizens have implemented an environmental self-monitoring network of low-cost DIY sensors to monitor the concentration of respirable and fine particles, PM 10 and PM 2.5. The researchers launched a sociological survey to find out what citizens think about the health conditions, the situation of the environment and the relationship between the two in the Valley. On last December 11th the researchers met mayors from the eight municipalities to discuss about potential scenarios in light of the epidemiological study on renal function. The epidemiological protocol of the study has been updated based on the Covid-19 emergency, mainly regarding the inclusion of serological tests for Covid-19, and the methods for recruiting and collecting samples consistent with the new measures connected with the evolution of the pandemic.
In the Utrecht/Amsterdam pilot project, that studied the relationship between woodburning and health, the researchers have met with key organized stakeholders as RIVM, Lung Foundation, Municipal health Service Amsterdam, made an online “call for research questions” campaign, kick off physical and co-creation meetings with citizens in IJburg, a new neighborhood of Amsterdam, and an online meeting with all citizens interested in health and woodburning. The researcher team has also created the preliminary design options for questions identified, developed co-creation meeting with IJburg citizen scientists and tested mobile and stationary sensors to meet citizen and researcher needs. Now, the team is preparing the tools for health study that will be launched in September 2020.
The Kaunas pilot project, that aims the participants to understand how environmental and behavioral issues affect personal and community health, has build the Pilot study community by engaging participants in the study and has translated concerns into potential research questions. A campaign to discuss of data collection protocol, the pilot study protocol, tools and governances protocol have been developed. The documents has been harmonized for being approved by the Bioethics Committee in order to conduct Biomedical research. In the face-to-face activity participated 580 citizens to collect personal data on socio-demographic and environmental residential characteristics, perceptions, physical activity, and health. The researchers built a community database and made data analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to evaluate neighborhood quality at the districts level, but due to COVID-19 quarantine, the launch of the sensors data collection has been postponed to after the change of the COVID-19 situation.
Finally, in the Ljubljana pilot project, that aims to co-produce new scientific information on the relationship between noise pollution and health, has reached relevant communities to map perception, interest and concerns on noise pollution. During the first phases of the project the researchers and citizens maintained meetings to discuss details on study design, developing data gathering protocols (including user manuals and data collection templates), testing of apps for online data collection, gathering and visualisations and creation of data management platform. Due to COVID-19 situation, the full scale launch of the study in Ljubljana has been postponed to after the summer in 2020.