Ground Truth 2.0 Team visits citizen observatory Sint Andries in Antwerp
On the 4th of June 2019, the Ground Truth 2.0 partners drove to Antwerp with a team of 20 people where we were welcomed by 10 members of the citizen Observatory (CO) Sint-Andries and 4 members of the MeetMeeMechelen citizen observatory, both set up by Ground Truth 2.0.
Griet Lambrechts from the climate team of the city of Antwerp explained why the city was interested in setting up a citizen observatory with the help of the Ground Truth 2.0 project. Furthermore, she illustrated which efforts had already been made with respect to climate change adaptation in the quarter of Sint-Andries. For the city of Antwerp, the project is a learning opportunity to improve ways and methods to interact in a continuous and constructive way with citizens, something that is of high priority for the city administration. In addition, data gathered can be used in a new tool called ’Hitteverklikker’, which was developed by IMEC, Geosolutions and Monkeyshot. The ’Hitteverklikker’ tool warns sensitive groups and their care takers about heat periods and provides options for places to go to for cooling down.
Inge Liekens from VITO presented how the steps of the Ground Truth 2.0 methodology were followed in order to decide upon activities to prioritize in the citizen observatory: mapping indoor and outdoor cool places and measuring temperature in indoor and outdoor locations to gather information on possible hot spots.
Arduïn Cielen from KlimaatRobuust Sint Andries, a very active citizen organization in the neighbourhood, gave some insights into the motivation of the citizens to participate in this citizen observatory. They found it very useful to have a good dialogue with a broad range of stakeholders in the neighbourhood, including the city of Antwerp. Furthermore, the fact that the data gathered will be freely accessible to the citizens is important since the data can be used to support their arguments for the implementation of green and blue measures.
After these presentations, Jos Thijs from KlimaatRobuust Sint Andries took us for a walk through the neighbourhood to show us some green realisations such as green “living” roofs and “garden streets”. Jos enthusiastically told us about the further ambitions of the citizens actions group.
We ended the visit with informal chats and a nice walking dinner. Interesting conversations on methods and ideas took place between the GT2.0 partners and the members of the citizen observatories from Sint Andries and MeetMeeMechelen. The two Belgian citizen observatories bonded and visions were exchanged.
Soon, it was time again to walk to the Antwerp railway station. Just in time before a storm broke out, we reached our train. Unfortunately, some train tracks turned out to be blocked due to the storm, so we had to be very inventive to get back in Delft. We only reached the hotel in Delft late at night, but we can look back at an inspiring visit to the Sint Andries citizen observatory!