Department of Social Anthropology
Habitable Air

Monitoring and Measuring Emissions: The Habitable Air Project

The Habitable Air project introduces a new pilot study to identify, monitor, and measure community-level emissions. The pilot study, led by Dr. Kerry Chance, will employ air quality sensors placed in key household and institutional sites.

small air monitor in the forest
Stefan Ogedengbe

Main content

The monitors will collect data on indoor and outdoor air quality, providing a quantitative basis and new pathways for the project's larger outputs, which include policy briefs, an edited volume, a documentary film, and public outreach. The Habitable Air project team will work with scientists in the fields of health, climate, and environmental sciences. The pilot study was made possible through a grant from the Environmental Humanities research group in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Bergen.

air monitor with a figure in front
Kerry Ryan Chance

Primary Objectives

The Habitable Air project seeks to shed light on the intricate relationship between three pressing issues: the escalating urban inequality, the deepening political divisions in major democracies, and the escalating impact of pollution as well as global warming. This project focuses on investigating how urban communities residing in interconnected energy hubs manage the impacts of air pollution. Additionally, it aims to analyse how longstanding struggles about industrial toxicity are being reshaped in the face of the growing integration of climate science into contemporary urban governance. Ultimately, the project endeavours to generate actionable knowledge that can foster the creation of more equitable and sustainable cities.

Approach and Outputs

To achieve its objectives, the Habitable Air project adopts a comparative team-based approach, drawing on the expertise of social scientists with in-depth knowledge of the transnational regions under investigation. The project team leverages qualitative research methods, including ethnographic participant observation and archival document analysis, as well as an investigation of quantitative data on air pollution. Through a cross-disciplinary and community-oriented approach, the project contributes to the achievement of multiple United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those focused on sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11) and climate action (Goal 13).

Habitable Air represents a significant step towards building a platform that combines knowledge from the social sciences, natural sciences, and citizens - ultimately facilitating more equitable and sustainable urban environments. The pilot study will culminate in a public workshop, hosted by UiB, to foster interdisciplinary discussions and community-based action on sustainability, including with project affiliates at MIT and UC-Berkeley.