Breathing Spaces is a community project in Southampton, which has at its heart clean air, liveable streets and increased health & wellbeing. In 2019 we have been working with residents in the neighbourhood of St Denys, to collect data on local air pollution and test community approaches for cleaner air. We are developing a robust evidence base on air quality in the area and giving a voice to local concerns, such as ‘rat running’ and poor air quality from congested main roads. We are also developing some mapping which will capture comments and ideas – we’d love to try out and support some your creative solutions for healthy streets!

Residents feel affected by poor air quality in many locations in St Denys

Breathing Spaces is funded by Nesta through its Connected Communities Innovation Fund. This a partnership between Nesta and the Office for Civil Society at DCMS, providing up to £2.7 million in grants, alongside significant non-financial support, to the best innovations that mobilise people’s time and talents.

The project is a collaboration between The Southampton Collective and partner organisations in Southampton including:

The University of Southampton is providing the air quality sensors and associated data for the project. An academic at Solent University is producing visualisations of this data; Robin Wilson is developing an online air quality map for the city and static visualisations; and Mandy Smith, artist in residence at Solent has provided the artwork for the project.

Transition Southampton has also kindly provided some financial support for the project, which will go towards running community engagement events.

The Southampton Collective has also been awarded Catalyst funding from the RSA for a pilot project, to test whether bus shelters can be used as ‘air quality information hubs’.

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