Feb 8, 2022 | NEWS

Porto believes in citizen science to strengthen its environmental strategy

Porto is working on responding to the most pressing challenges linked to environmental, economic, and social sustainability. To do so, the city adopted its environmental strategy in 2014. This is based on five axes designed to lead the energy transition, move towards a circular economy, and use nature-based solutions.

Always looking for new ideas and solutions that would benefit its citizens, Porto considers itself a laboratory city driving innovation in several areas. This is why the city doesn’t hesitate to participate in pilot projects and new research.

Citizen science: a way to Porto’s environmental goals

Aware of the role of citizen science as a valuable contribution to scientific research and behavioural change, Porto has a rising interest in opportunities in this field.

“Citizen science enhances scientific research, involving citizens who contribute with their intellectual effort, their knowledge, and with their tools and resources,” says Ana Chaves, Senior Technician at the City of Porto. “Collecting and analyzing data, co-designing a project or helping to improve it, and disseminating results are among the main actions of citizen science.”

The first Citizen Science project promoted by Porto, through the Porto Metropolitan Area, is a project observing seagulls in the urban environment. Citizens can upload information about nesting sites, observations, and relevant information about the birds. The goal is to map hotspots, behaviours, and main nuisances caused by seagulls in the city to support decision-making and citizen information.

“But Porto needs to go further,” says Chaves. “We need to learn more and focus more on citizen science as an indispensable tool to support scientific research and guarantee good adequacy of projects, solutions and their impact.” The city feels that by strengthening its work with citizen science, it will better implement the actions planned within its environmental strategy.
As a city that strives for quality, efficiency and effectiveness, Porto is looking for knowledge, good practices, and cooperation to integrate good citizen science solutions in its management practices.

Participation in CitiMeasure Project

Porto has joined other cities from all corners of Europe in the EU funded CitiMeasure project. Based on the successful experience of the Dutch City Deal, the project aims to develop, design, and test citizen measurement solutions ensuring digital inclusion.

The project will also set up a European Knowledge Center – an online repository of good practices and co-created instruments, user guidelines, and training material to support the creation of future citizen science initiatives. Porto sees this repository as a particularly relevant opportunity to deepen its knowledge and consider the best citizen science solutions it could integrate, both within the European context and within its specificities.

“In the CitiMeasure project, we seek to learn how to develop consistent and lasting solutions for citizen science in the city of Porto,” explains Chaves. “We will both cooperate with and be inspired by other European cities. We are also looking forward to participating in developing the online European Knowledge Center.”

Do you want to exchange with Porto and participate in improving citizen science in our cities? You can still join the discussion by expressing your interest here: https://forms.office.com/r/d0RQpiQNMj

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