On the 26th October 2018, the University of Warwick Sustainability Team working in collaboration with the EIT Climate KIC Climathon group and supported by Coventry City Council, Warwick Business School and Coventry University brought together a number of minds to tackle a well known issue of Coventry - Air Pollution
The first annual Coventry Climathon started with an introduction to the day and a presentation of the problem, the challenge and also where the Council are at with the new Air Quality Action Plan (presented by John Seddon from the City Council) which is currently in draft form - something that our wise hackers might be able to feed into during the day.
The group split into two teams and were given some handouts and data to help the thought processes and each had a coach to help guide/support the conversation.
Many interesting ideas were raised from green roofs for all new buildings and bus stops to green corridors, encouraging people to work from homeif they are able to elec mono-rail above city.
During the presentations at the end of the day the two teams presented their main proposals.
Team 1 took a branding approach of using a 'Clean Coventry' brand in connection to the City of Culture suggesting 3 projects to work together:
Green Walls: Use city spaces including the ring-road and pedestrian spaces to increase planted features that are environmentally friendly. An example of this can be seen in Mexico City. Plus use of attractive and massively efficient street installations such as these benches.
Provide free public transport by giving residents tokens to use on public transport. This will reduce the congestion likely on busy days, especially during large events, and especially in city of culture year. As well as reducing congestion it it providing the opportunity for bus and rail companies to access a new customer base who wouldn’t otherwise use it, so can aim to change habits. This would be great for City of Culture events and increase social inclusion.
Link air quality monitoring data from around the city to road signage (similar to live speed display boards). The aim would be to channel more people to park-and-ride or alternative routes on occasions where pollution is high. Giving motorists real-time data to inform their use of alternative transport will help acceptance that it’s a good idea.
Team 2 also presented 2 pojects.
Creating a walking bus for children to get to and from school, managed by teachers or volunteers (DBS checked) within a 1 mile radius of a school. This would hopefully reduce car use for school runs and impacts of conjection and improve health. An example of this is already running in Kent.
Installation of new shuttle buses to be run for industrial areas for employees. This has recently been promised by Amazon at Allesley and could have a massive impact on reducing car journeys, less waiting time, reduced traffic conjestion, save money, safety/social inclusion for employees.
"It was really interesting to see other peeoples perspectived. I didnt know Coventry had an air pollution issue. I am from India (having only been in the UK for a week) where the issue is far worse and never thought it would be like this in England. I am amazed the Council themselves were involved and listening to our ideas. Today has been really transforming for me and will support me in my studies at Kingston University London" - Bhavani Salwa
We thank everyone who took part in this event and hope to join Climathon in running one next year. In the mean time keep an eye out for WBS Nudgeathons or join the Warwick Behaviour Insights Team who run similar projects on campus.