By Annelli Janssen – DRIFT

How can citizen science change business-as-usual and make science more open, inclusive and citizen-led? This is one of the questions that ACTION asks. We use the transformative impact tool to assess the potential of citizen science projects to change the status quo: is the project radical, timely, catalysing, iconic, and does it allow for learning?

NoiseMaps, one of the pilots that was part of ACTION’s accelerator program, scores very well in terms of transformative impact. NoiseMaps allows citizens to generate and analyse urban sound data, empowering communities to take action to reduce unwanted noise and protect the local sonic heritage. NoiseMaps is Radical, because it democratises the use of complex technology and Iconic for its powerful visual representation of sound in Barcelona. The project is very Timely because it fits into two emerging trends. First, the realisation that technology should work for all, not just for a few people. Second, the pushback against gentrification and tourists: neighbourhoods should not only be a playground for global capital, they should contribute to a pleasant, vibrant, and livable city. NoiseMaps clearly contributes to transforming the way we think of noise, by empowering citizens to create pleasant soundscapes in their city.