Air quality startup starts pilot in Salo

The City of Salo and UrbanZee have agreed on a pilot during summer 2018. Specific areas in Salo will be measured twice a week, such as the centre area, Halikko, Tupuri, Viitanummi and Vanutehtaanmäki. A mobile app will be released later to provide citizens with access to this information.

Salo is one of the most active cities in south-west Finland. It is continuously evolving and is somewhat unique in that it is developing excellent facilities from former Nokia factory and R&D center, into the Salo IoT Campus. Not only does this provide companies with excellent infrastructure; but highly skilled engineering workforce also provides unique opportunities. Not surprising, Salo is quickly rediscovering itself as an innovative city, attracting both startups and growth companies, and even initiatives such as Elon Musk’s Hyperloop.

Additionally, Salo as a smaller city has very clean air. While Finland itself is in the top 10 of countries in the world with the cleanest air, there are benefits to living in a city, such as Salo, with even less pollution than larger Finnish cities.

“Salo wants to be attractive to startups so when we talked with UrbanZee we saw opportunities to work together” said special advisor Peter Nisula from the City of Salo, “UrbanZee is a smartcity company, which made it even more interesting to Salo”.

Earlier this spring performed a pilot on measuring the air quality within Salo to show UrbanZee’s capability. These initial measurements were only snapshots, but showed clean air overall.

UrbanZee is a startup aiming to measure the air quality of entire cities in hyper-local detail. Its services include access to air quality information and measuring areas in detail and a platform for people to participate in making a lasting change. “Salo as a city is interesting for us, because an early small-scale survey showed that even in a city like Salo people are concerned about air quality” explains UrbanZee’s CEO Aschwin van der Woude, “This is not entirely surprising as air quality can on average be good, but in some specific areas of a city one might find elevated levels of pollution, such as next to a busy road”.

“Salo has not been actively measuring air quality as it has not been needed nor required”, says director of environmental protection Pirkko Paranko from the City of Salo, “We are nevertheless curious about some areas that are under development and look forward to seeing the effects of, for example, the power plant might have on pollution levels in some areas of Salo”. UrbanZee is closely collaborating with Salo city to ensure the data produced can provide meaningful conclusions.

During the pilot, UrbanZee will also conduct several surveys to further measure concern among citizens, and allow people to sign up for early access to the mobile app.