Several of VARCITIES’ partners (Technical University of Crete, Darttek Limited, Municipality of Chania, IESR&D, University of Malta, Sensedge Co. and EURAC) published together in January 2024 an article exploring how integrating green initiatives with smart technology can transform urban living, enhancing the health and well-being of our communities. Entitled The Intersection of the Green and the Smart City: A Data Platform for Health and Well-Being through Nature-Based Solutions, it was published in the international peer-reviewed journal Smart Cities.
The research paper outlines the development of VARCITIES Health & Well-Being platform, a web-based data platform that integrates nature-based solutions (NBS) with smart city technologies. The platform focuses on VARCITIES seven pilot cities and aims to address challenges related to urbanization and climate change while considering community health and well-being. At the core of the initiative is a comprehensive database collecting data from participating cities. This data spans climatic and energy aspects to socio-economic factors and health indicators, forming the foundation for assessing the impact of nature-based solutions on urban well-being.
The paper describes the data platform architecture tailored for the seven pilot cities, and details the various sensors, including LoRaWAN-enabled devices such as the Sensedge Senstick and a bike sensor kit. These sensors provide real-time data on environmental parameters and air quality, contributing to the monitoring of key performance indicators.
Moreover, the authors also present how VARCITIES aim to foster user engagement through the GoNature game, which utilizes gamification and VR/AR capabilities to visualize air pollution scenarios.
The paper underscores the global need for nature-based solutions amid environmental pressures and societal imbalances. The intersection of these solutions with smart cities, referred to as “phygital,” is positioned as a potential avenue for future urban development. As cities worldwide address 21st-century challenges, VARCITIES Health & Well-Being platform emerges as a practical step forward in developing smarter, greener, and healthier urban environments.
The full article is accessible here: https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7010001
Kolokotsa, D.; Lilli, A.; Tsekeri, E.; Gobakis, K.; Katsiokalis, M.; Mania, A.; Baldacchino, N.; Polychronaki, S.; Buckley, N.; Micallef, D.; et al. The Intersection of the Green and the Smart City: A Data Platform for Health and Well-Being through Nature-Based Solutions. Smart Cities 2024, 7, 1-32. https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7010001