Aarhus is the second largest city in Denmark situated on the Jutland peninsula’s east coast and in the middle of region with its same name.
Initially founded as a harbour settlement at the mouth of the Aarhus River, it quickly became a trade hub open to the world. It’s charming old town open-air museum called Den Gamle By, is mady up of centuries-old timbered houses. It is a historical city with a Botanical Garden, the ARoS art museum and has an underground Viking Museum exhibiting early local history. As of 2022, it has a population of approximately 350,000 inhabitants.
In the last decades, Aarhus has seen an unprecedented urban transformation with many new institutions, infrastructure projects, city districts and recreational areas. Both the skyline and land use of the inner city is changing, as former industrial sites are being redeveloped into new city districts and neighbourhoods.
Why was it chosen as a ‘Pilot City’
Aarhus is a medium city representing the northern part of Europe. The city aims to be climate neutral by 2030 and has planned investments of 14 million euro in climate funding to reduce CO2. The Municipality has also established a “Board of Citizenship and Diversity”. In addition, Aarhus has been selected to be a mentor city in the Intelligent City Challenge. Aarhus is a member city of the Covenant of Mayors and Rainbow Cities Network.
The main objectives of the city of Aarhus
are aligned with those of DivAirCity, which are:
The Living Lab of Aarhus is focused on ‘nature based solutions (NBS) health &air quality (AQ) impact traced by internet of things (IoT) -Citizens as resources”, centered around using a crowdsensing approach that increases awareness and transforms it into concrete actions towards improving the AQ and decarbonisation of the city.
Area of Intervention
The NBS will improve the air quality and quality of life for vulnerable groups (minorities, elderly, disabled people, women, LGBTQ+) through various activities.
Activities in the City
The solutions are yet to be finally decided as part of the co-creation activities within the project, but these actions have been suggested:
- Green Screen + pocket park: In ‘street canyon’, with the aim to improve AQ by reducing particles for people below the height of 150 cm, we will develop and set up a large Green Screen made up by plants with specific AQ-qualities. The screen will function as a protective barrier between people and traffic. Local citizens will get the opportunity to maintain the new pocket park and keep it green and clean.
- Greener bus stop: with the purpose of decreasing exposure to particles for the ‘citizens waiting for the bus next to a busy street’ and increase biodiversity in the city, sedum will be applied around the bus stop.
- Accessible, ‘cleaner air alternative’-route: paths qualified by vulnerable groups will invite citizens through areas that are safe (limited traffic, safe crossings, good light, no unsafe surfaces), healthy (cleaner air) and with something attractive to experience (stimulating use of senses). The alternative route will compare AQ with a route with heavy traffic with mobile AQ-sensors carried by different citizen-groups.