The mission of the Air Quality City Lab (Stadslab Luchtkwaliteit) is to share knowledge and inspiration in order to contribute to air quality improvement in a well-founded manner. The ’s-Gravendijkwal in Rotterdam – known as one of the most polluted streets in the Netherlands – serves as an ambitious test case.
Lab doubling as event venue
In order to bring the theme of air quality to the attention of local residents, the Air Quality City Lab has hosted numerous events since 2014. Examples include a lunch at ’s-Gravendijkwal, a sightseeing tour of the polluted streets of Rotterdam, a pop-up exhibition and a workshop for children.
The open nature of the City Lab has facilitated the creation of alliances with municipal authorities, the business community, activist groups, and research and educational institutes. The initiative is supported financially and substantively by the Creative Industry Promotion Fund (Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie) and the City of Rotterdam.
Particulate matter decomposer
Besides a stir, valuable meetings and exposure, the Air Quality City Lab has managed to achieve two very concrete innovations to improve the air quality. The first is the ’s-Gravendijkboswal, which serves as both a decomposer and collector of particulate matter. This plant-filled and moss-covered strip on both sides of the street prevents particulate matter and gaseous pollution from escaping into the air.
The second innovation that is a brainchild of the Air Quality City Lab is the ’s-Gravendijkwasstraat, or ’s-Gravendijk Street Wash. This is a water atomization system by the side of the road, designed to bind harmful substances and discharge them into the sewers. Over stretch of approximately 850 metres, this atomization system emits a fine spray of water mist during rush hours, thus significantly reducing particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide emissions.