Chania is located in the crossroads of civilizations, full of natural beauties, unique tradition and architecture. Built on the location of the ancient Minoan settlement of “Kydonia”, the city occupies an area of 11 sq km with a population just over 50.000 inhabitants, making Chania the second largest city in Crete. The old Venetian port with its Egyptian Lighthouse is one of the city’s most iconic features, while the gulf of Souda to the north is the largest natural harbor in the Mediterranean Sea. Its unspoiled landscapes and cultural identity have lately rendered the city as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.
Creation of a Mobile Urban Living Room in open public spaces
Public spaces in Chania are being upgraded to both bring nature to the citizens, and citizens tonature. A mobile urban living room will be designed as a flexible multifunctional pilot, to increase the accessibility and use of public spaces and improve citizens’ health and well-being. Convertible furniture will be digitized by making them part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Their position and use will be monitored, allowing the citizens to interact both with the urban space and VARCITIES via mobile apps and games. With the ability to offer high-quality services and multifunctionality, the pilot will be designed to host different activities. Sensors on public bikes and bike-stations combined with weather station data, prediction models and bike sharing systems usage data will also be employed to create a healthy city.
As part of VARCITIES’ co-creation process, the Municipality of Chania organised three workshops where the Visionary Solutions were presented and discussed with stakeholders:
- 1st Co-creation workshop organised online on 29th June 2021
- 2nd Co-creation workshop organised in-person on 29th November 2021
- 3rd Co-creation workshop organised online on 15th February 2022
- Town Hall event organised in-person on 7th November 2022
The Visionary Solutions
VS 1: Mobile urban living rooms (MULαR)
VS 1 will develop a Mobile Urban Living Room or MULαR, a portable, multifunctional and convertible construction, which will be set up in different areas of the city. Its goal is to redefine citizens’ relationship with public space and nature. Acting as a meeting point, MULαR will encourage citizens to engage in various social and cultural activities, increasing the green spaces’ value. MULαR will gather data on urban environmental conditions and citizens’ health and well-being to assess the current state of green spaces and propose strategies for future improvement. Citizens will interact with the solutions through mobile apps and games. Based on stakeholders’ feedback MULαR will be set up in several locations, including natural-green areas: the Municipal Garden and the Peace & Friendship Park, Agioi Apostoloi park/forest, small wetlands (e.g. the outfall of Kladissos river, close to Natura 2000 sites), Public Squares (e.g. Souda Square, Chalepa Square, etc.), Schoolyards and Neighborhoods. In concertation with stakeholders, five main categories of activities were identified: educational activities, social activities, information and awareness actions, cultural activities and promotional activities.
VS 2: Sensors on Bikes and Bike-stations
VS 2 will support the installation of sensor kits on both public (Chania’s bike sharing system) and private bicycles. Public bicycle stations will also be equipped to measure pollutants (PMx, noise, humidity etc.). Data will be combined with health measurements from the bicycles’ smart grips (oxymeter) and will be enriched with data from weather station, bike sharing systems usage, questionnaires, apps and from statistical services and observatories. Available data will be geolocated so as to trace possible pollution hotspots and health data. Indications and warnings about the environmental conditions will become available to Chania’s citizens and visitors.
This Visionary Solution aims to:
- Improve air quality and noise conditions (by preventing people to move in polluted areas)
- Improve citizens’ and visitors’ Health & Wellbeing
- Reduce healthcare spending
- Reduce “environmental disparities” by providing vulnerable social groups (cyclists, pedestrian, children and the elderly) with information about certain pollutants, protecting them from exposure to hazardous environmental conditions
- Improve social equality
- Advertise good air quality