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Accepted Paper:

Informating Air Pollution in Copenhagen: Overflows and Concerned Groups  
Rasmus Haarloev (IT University of Copenhagen) Steffen Dalsgaard (IT University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores how the arrival in Copenhagen of Google’s Project Air View has re-invigorated debates over responsibility for air pollution. We discuss how groups of citizens, corporate, and municipal actors deploy informational tools to justify positions of politicisation.

Paper long abstract:

The introduction of Google’s Project Air View (PAV) in Copenhagen has re-invigorated local concerns over air pollution. In contrast to established techno-scientific networks which deploy well-known air pollutants as visible in accordance with European limits, the PAV has both contributed with fine-grained measurements at street-level and it has amplified the visibility of new and emerging objects of aerial governance such as ultrafine particles and black carbon over which there is yet to form scientific consensus. The objective of this paper is twofold: Firstly, we analyze the divergent and heterogeneous identifications and representations of air pollution in Copenhagen. Secondly, we demonstrate how groups of concerned citizens in their push against entrenched ways of thinking about air pollution are empowered by the PAV’s fine grained air pollution visualizations in different ways. While some citizens deploy the PAV to politicize pollutants stemming from aviation, busses, and smaller vehicles, others propose novel urban green designs. At the same time corporate and governmental actors attempt to depoliticize the problem of air pollution by deferring responsibility to established conventions for which air pollution ‘counts'. All in all, we argue that Google’s contribution to the ‘informating’ of air pollution in Copenhagen is a multi-facetted process, which solidifies existing political environmental contrasts rather than depoliticizing or solving them.

Panel P48b
Informated Environments
  Session 1 Wednesday 8 June, 2022, -