Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Leeds Climathon: Air pollution challenge

This years Climathon will be held at ODI Leeds on 26 and 27 October. Climathon is a 24-hour global climate change hackathon, co-ordinated by Climate-KIC. The event takes place simultaneously in major cities around the world, each with their own urban climate challenge. 

Students, starts ups, entrepreneurs, big thinkers, technical experts and developers get together for the marathon international challenge, which is now in its third year. Last year, 59 cities took part; this year 238 cities from 70 countries have signed up.

This is the second year that Leeds has participated in Climathon. The city itself sets the challenge; last year our focus was on energy efficiency and models for financing it in an age of austerity; this year, Leeds City Council has set the challenge around the pressing issue of air pollution, specifically:

‘How can Leeds pioneer clean air solutions to tackle air pollution and become a Clean Air/Low Emission City that improves Leeds for residents, business and visitors?’

Regionally, Leeds is a hotspot for air pollution in Yorkshire and nationally it is the third worst polluted city in the UK having major implications on people’s health within the city. It's not only the burgeoning health implications: the transportation sector is also responsible for around a quarter of UK greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change. Industrial emissions, which also contribute to air quality, make up another quarter.

Our Leeds Climathon encourages practical and creative approaches to help trigger innovation and enterprise in response to this challenge. Climate-KIC have teamed up with the Institute for Transport Studies, the Sustainability Research Institute, the Centre for Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Studies, Cities theme and the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, as well as the newly formed Leeds Climate Commission, currently chaired by Leeds City Council and the University of Leeds.

With members from 24 organisations, businesses and the third sector, Leeds Climate Commission will be hosting the Climathon and brings together a wide range of interests, talent and experience to our Clean Air/Low Emission City challenge.

This year’s Climathon will include the opportunity to take part in raw data collection experiments and also offers a virtual reality element as a potential tool for exploring approaches too, with access to a pedestrian simulator and VR kit from the Virtuocity team at the Institute for Transport Studies.

Whether you are an engineer or an entrepreneur, artist or scientist, consultant or citizen, innovator or data cruncher, in business or in a community group, if you want to be part of a pioneering clean air/low emission solution that improves Leeds for residents, businesses and visitors, we want you to be part of our Leeds Climathon! 

Participation is free and all meals are provided. Sign up to take part as a group or as an individual, via the Climathon Leeds city webpage.

Dr James Tate and Dr Carly Reddington from the Priestley International Centre for Climate discuss the Climathon in a video. Watch via the University of Leeds' Facebook page.