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2017 STS Making and Doing Program

Meeting Home | Making & Doing Main | Making and Doing 2017 | Category: Policy Pedagogy

AirTRACS: Community-based Air Quality Monitoring

Michails, Maria, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Attempting to address air quality concerns in South End Albany, New York, initially in relation to the crude oil trains staged beside Ezra Prentice Homes, AirTRACS was initiated by RPI Electronic Arts and STS PhD student, Maria Michails, as a community-based environmental art and technology project. The project consisted of workshops to build a fleet of rovers made with low-cost air quality monitoring sensors and electronics mounted on toy trucks and wearables, made with youth living in the neighborhood. A companion website maps the rovers and features recorded storytelling by their elders. The stories are an ethnographic presentation of the personal experiences of those living, for years and in some cases decades, in close proximity to crude oil trains, heavy diesel truck traffic and industrial activity at the adjacent Port of Albany, recently dubbed an oil transfer hub. Using citizen science and critical making, chosen for their rising mainstream popularity, as methods for engagement, the project has an unconventional goal: as a form of radical pedagogy and tactical intervention, the making and deploying of the devices during publicized events and alongside the New York State DEC's expert monitoring, the aim is to keep pressure on the agency to fulfill their promise of the year-long comprehensive study of air quality in the neighborhood. Recognizing the limitations of low-cost sensors, the objective of our citizen science practice is not to attempt to match data accuracy of the agency's high-end monitors (although the web platform will present the data collected), but as a provocation for State accountability and deepened learning about the complex relationship between governance, corporate neighbors, and public health.

Browse 2017 Projects

Alac: STS Olfactorium

Battles: The Trial Balloon: buoyancy, embodied media, and patchy planetarity

Callahan: Rethinking Citizen Science through doing Citizen Science

Cardoso Llach: Tracing Design Ecologies

Clement: Snowden Surveillance Archive

Cohen: Toward Improving Public Policy for Struct Engrg Design of Bridge, Transport & Marine Infrastructure

Durnova: Politicizing the scientific self through media interventions

Erickson-Davis: What it is to see: a simulation of artificial vision

Gluzman: Feminist Theory Theater

Gomez-Marquez: Construction Sets for DIY Medical Technologies and their Black Box Counterparts

Hidalgo: Collaborative Research Toolkit: a copyleft resource for the co-design of research processes

Hoagland: Getting a Sense of the Place: Navigating FemTechNet’s Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Workbook

Houston: Collaborative urban sensing with the “Dustbox” air quality monitor

Howell: Emotional Interpretation & Materiality of Biosensing

Johnson: Engineering Comes Home: Co-designing local infrastructure with residents of a London housing estate

Kennedy: Doing STS at the science/policy intersection

Knopes: Integrating STS into Bioethics and Medical Humanities Programs

Lachney: Generative STEM: Circulating Unalienated Value in Education, Labor and Environment

Lawson: (T)racing Eyes and Hearts:  An Installation to Explore the Physiology of Empathy

Lehr: Undergraduate STSers Learn by Doing in the Trump Era

Lippman: Making Sensible in 360°

Michails: AirTRACS: Community-based Air Quality Monitoring

Mogul: A STS STEM Education Incubator: The Co-Making of Inquiry

Mohsin: QEERI’s Science Majlis

Murphy: Environmental Data and Governance Initiative: Engaged STS Responding to the U.S.Administration

Nafus: Data Sense

Navarro: Our Driverless Futures: Speculating Moral Dilemmas of Self-Driving Cars

Nieusma: STS Design and Innovation: Disciplinary Discomfiture

Onaga: Biomaterial Matters: Fitting Humans into Cocoons, A Speculative Prototype

Ostman: STS approaches to public engagement with science: Synthetic biology

Ostrowski: The Empirical Printing Program

Perez Comisso: Technological theory for all: Teaching experiments on STS in Chile

Rosado Murillo: Pedal Transcriba, an Ethnographic Device of (and for) Qualitative Research

Shapiro: Detoxifying the environment across temporalities

Steensen: Face-off! Platform versus Self: A photobooth experiment

Stern: Zika and Feminist STS: Building a Network, Doing Collective Scholarship

Taylor: Connecting-Probing-Reflecting Spaces: The New England Workshop on Science and Social Change (NewSSC)

Terrell: The making of an undergraduate Sociotechnical Ethics Society

Wentworth: Handholds: making sense of bodies through slaughter

Wong: Design Workbook Variations: Exploring Biosensing Privacy Futures

Wylie: Making and Doing STS with Undergraduate Engineers: The UVA Approach