Introduction to the CitiObs Project

CitiObs (Enhancing Citizen Observatories for healthy, sustainable, resilient and inclusive cities) is a Horizon Europe project, launched on the 1st of January 2023 with a total duration of 48 months. CitiObs will support Citizen Observatories (COs) in distinct cities to create/enhance/or scale up inclusive and diverse COs, fostering an active role of citizens in the observation of the urban environment using low-cost sensor technologies and wearables, with a particular focus on air quality and related environmental measures.

CitiObs will provide a set of tools and methodologies that will enable COs to better transform co-created data into knowledge that is integrated into relevant policy and decision-making processes, as well as to channel the urgency of citizens and communities for change into concrete action via New European Bauhaus (NEB) vision “for a sustainable and inclusive future”.

As a result of the CitiObs co-design and co-creation activities that will be implemented along with citizen science practitioners and policy makers at city, regional, national and EU-level, an online Knowledge Platform containing the results of those activities will be developed with a detailed CitiObs Cookbook which will guide and direct users to relevant CitiObs tools and guidance in order to address their specific COs challenges. The platform will include the public documentation, guidelines, and other materials, including media materials developed within the project, curated and made easily accessible for future use. Also, CitiObs will provide tools and guidance on using low-cost sensors and automatically remotely validating real-time data. The data from the COs will be part of GEOSS portal community. CitiObs will dynamically aggregate data from different COs and the data will be visualized on a platform which will support taking decisions and creating local actions.

CitiObs aims to achieve:

  • More widespread, diverse, inclusive and stable participation of citizens and communities in the observation, monitoring, and protection of the urban environment via citizen observatories.

  • Greater temporal and spatial availability of citizen observations as complementary to official observations at local, national and EU institution level for policy and research use, that contribute to the in-situ component of existing observations systems.

  • Stronger recognition of COs as a powerful research and policy-making approach on observation, monitoring and protection of the urban environment. Especially on addressing urban challenges related to pollution and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

  • Large scale demonstration of CitiObs tools and approaches for enhancing COs.

CitiObs will support and leverage existing COs, communities of practice and knowledge networks, and replicate and scale-up state-of-the-art methodologies and practices to integrate COs in multi-level governance across all corners of Europe to achieve better informed decision-making processes, societal engagement and innovation. Furthermore, with the use of the tools and approaches included in the CitiObs Cookbook, it is expected that the number of citizens monitoring the environment and providing validated data on the environmental state will be increased, which will lead to the creation of more targeted and informed policies in local, national and EU-level. CitiObs will give the opportunity for each city to understand further each challenge and needs, and to gain support from the tools and methods which are to be created during the project.

The demonstration and validation of the CitiObs tools and approaches for enhancing COs is one of the key activities of the project and defines and shapes the overall approach and methodology used. To ensure broad use, the CitiObs tools and approaches will be developed in co-creation with COs in 5 Frontrunner cities (Athens, Barcelona, Dublin, Kristiansand, Rotterdam), finetuned with 30 Implementer cities and showcased to 50 Fellow cities. More specifically during the first year of CitiObs, Frontrunner cities will provide valuable inputs from their own experience on different tools and methods which will be fine-tuned for the Implementer cities. An open call will be done to find interested Implementer and Fellow cities during the second year of the project.

In January 2023, the CitiObs consortium launched the project in the kick-off meeting that was held in Oslo. During that time, the partners exchanged their innovative ideas and past experiences relevant to the project’s objectives. In June 2023, the CitiObs consortium will hold the second face to face plenary meeting with the focus on onboarding the Frontrunner cities.

Project Partners

  • NILU Stiftelsen Norsk Institutt Forluftforskning

  • National Ecological Centre of Ukraine

  • Stichting Ihe Delft Institute for Water Education

  • Rijksinstituut Voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu

  • University College Dublin, National University of Ireland, Dublin

  • Draxis Environmental SA

  • Dreven SRL

  • Eurocities ASBL

  • Centro de Investigacion Ecologica y Aplicaciones Forestales

  • Institut d'arquitectura Avancada de Catalunya

  • Universiteit Leiden

  • Airly Spolka z Ograniczona Odpowiedzialnoscia

  • Secure Dimensions GMBH

  • AirSentinels







Núria Castell, Project Coordinator, NILU,



9 June 2023


CitiObs Consortium