From Do-It-Yourself (DIY) to Do-It-Together (DIT): Reflections on designing a citizen-driven air quality monitoring framework in Taiwan

Sachit Mahajan*, Cyuan Heng Luo, Dong Yi Wu, Ling Jyh Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Air pollution is a serious problem and has caused public health concerns all over the world. Despite the evidence, the preparedness and response of citizens has been limited. This underlines the importance of having sustainable air quality monitoring solutions that foster inclusion and multi-stakeholder partnerships for social-scientific interventions. This study illustrates how AirBox project has emerged in Taiwan, where makers and citizens use the sensors to sense air quality and provide the public with actionable data about their environments. The AirBox project includes elements of technology-innovation and citizen science: (1) Participatory Sensing – Static and mobile air quality sensing, (2) Open Data – Open hardware, software and access to data, (3) Co-creation Citizen Science – Citizen-led campaigns and forums, and (4) Outreach – Knowledge sharing, trust building and multi-stakeholder collaboration. The project uses a wide range of sensors to provide extendable solutions and data at fine spatio-temporal resolution. The results are highlighted using five cases studies that show how integrating social dimensions in an air quality monitoring framework can lead to public awareness, data-driven applications and environmentally sustainable cities. The multi-faceted approach highlights the effects of a bottom-up citizen science approach that considers local culture, practices and problems at grassroots.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102628
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Mar
Externally publishedYes


  • Air pollution monitoring
  • Citizen science
  • Low-cost sensors
  • Particulate matter exposure
  • Resilient cities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Transportation


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