Release of the First RESPONSE project newsletter

We are pleased to share with you that our First Newsletter is out now!

This newsletter reviews the first steps of the project, a brief introduction about the Lighthouse Cities and Fellow Cities which RESPONSE supports and a quick overview about our latest events, updates and results.

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Air quality partners met for a site visit in Turku

In June, partner representatives from the city of Turku, the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the University of Turku gathered for a site visit in the Student Village, Turku’s Positive Energy District (PED). The purpose of the site visit was for the partners involved in air quality activities, to get familiar with the PED air quality characteristics and the overall air quality measures and monitoring in Turku. In RESPONSE, FMI is responsible for meteorological and dispersion modelling activities. FMI will for example develop SILAM Air Quality Modelling for the PED and demonstrate the use of a high-resolution operative air quality forecasting system. The University of Turku, more specifically the department of Geography and Geology, is providing high-resolution local climate information with a focus on urban planning.

View from the Aitiopaikka rooftop, the buildings in the front of the picture are subject to retrofitting activities, including nano-coating 4-glazing panel windows, high performance ventilation and IoT thermostats funded by RESPONSE. The blue building in the back is the Tyyssiija building, also part of Turku’s Positive Energy Block (PEB), in which most of the infrastructural implementations will take place. Photo: Sini Lamoureux

During the visit, air quality expert Petra Sainisto from the city of Turku introduced the subject of air quality in Turku, stating that there are quite few days per year with poor air quality in the city. When the air quality level drops, it usually happens in spring when the streets dry and the level of dust particles in the air increases.

The tour around the Student Village started on the Aitiopaikka building rooftop which provided a good overview of the PED area. Aitiopaikka, built in 2018 is a four-story apartment building equipped with 516 solar panels. After seeing the PED from above, the site visit led by environmental expert Hans-Peter Huhtala from the city of Turku, continued on the ground. The University of Turku has several air quality measuring sensors in the PED area which are part of the TURCLIM urban weather observation network. The site visit was completed with a stop at the Turku market square air quality measuring station, which monitors the traffic’s impact on the city centre air quality.

Sini Lamoureux, City of Turku

Kick-off Meeting

The official Kick-off Meeting (KoM) was held on November 3rd and 4th, 2020. EIFER, the project coordinator organised it virtually via Zoom Meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to extensive participation of the involved 53 partners, the event gathered distinguished individuals such as Jens Bartholmes, Policy Officer at the European Commission. City representatives of Turku and Dijon were represented by welcome message videos, previously collected from them as part of the preparation process.

The first day of the KoM mainly focused on the cities and their integrated solutions, followed by WP leaders’ presentations which were held on the second day. The content of presentations included description of tasks, deliverables, and upcoming actions of the respective WPs. In order to facilitate discussions, a Q&A session was organised after each presentation and the questions were facilitated only via the chat box. This helped to spark useful discussions leading to significant conclusions.

It is relevant to also note that as a side activity, 30 second video clips were collected from all partners prior to the kick-off, to be played during the meeting as due to the size of the consortium and the virtual meeting set up, it would be complicated to have a classic round table for a consortium of 53 partners. The clips were then grouped by ecosystem and played after the presentations, in order to enable the participants to get acquainted with the representatives involved in different parts of the project. A snapshot of such a video is presented below.