Supporting the 'Breathing City' in Leeds

In 2019, we released our open strategy which articulated a set of 'core themes' that a lot of our work gravitated towards. Being 'Radically Open,' Open GovTech, Open Transport, and Open Data Saves Lives. Cutting across all of those themes are the projects and events that are centered on the environment. At #AirHack in 2017, we brought people together to discuss air quality data and explore the potential of creating useful tools or resources to help people better understand the health and environmental impacts of air quality. In 2019, we hosted #PlanetData to once again bring people together, this time with the broader but equally pressing topic of the Climate Emergency. We know that understanding the complexity of the climate crisis, right down to city-scale, will be important for developing scalable solutions and engaging the decision makers and the public, leading to more positive climate action.

So we are delighted to be working with Slingshot Simulations, based here in Leeds, on a brand new 'digital twin' project that will explore simulations of air quality in the city.

One of five projects to be selected for funding and support from the ODI and the Lloyd's Register Foundation, the 'Breathing City' project aims to create a digital twin of Leeds using open data, allowing businesses and organisations to safely trial 'what if' scenarios without affecting anyone. The simulation will also be used to improve the public understanding of health issues, particularly those relating to air quality. Leeds City Council is a primary partner on the project.

With city councils declaring climate emergencies, a rapid response is needed. Slingshot will use the "Breathing City" project to demonstrate how the use of rapidly integrating open data sources can create a digital twin to improve the wellbeing and safety of urban populations and provide valuable insights on the impact of pollution, leveraging data for public benefit and education.

Slingshot believes that it is important to democratise the benefits of large-scale complex simulation so that organisations of any size can use digital twins to devise more efficient ways of working by simplifying decisions and mitigating risk by tackling what-if scenarios without affecting the safety of individuals.

This involves a no coding approach: a solution that allows technology and organisations to work together for sustainable development that could provide society with a greater connection to the idea and benefits of smart cities being catalysts for change.

We are really looking forward to collaborating with Slingshot and Leeds City Council on this project. We will be reaching out to our fantastic sponsor network and the brilliant data community in Leeds, supporting work that will enable folk in the future to explore creative climate solutions using a data-driven version of the city.