Learning by doing – Using citizen science to map social change in Strovolos, Cyprus

The Library of the University of Cyprus, in cooperation with the Municipal Library of Strovolos and the Cyprus Institute, organised the event entitled What’s in my neighborhood? Using citizen science to map social change in Strovolos” on the 15th of November 2022.

The purpose of the event was to promote Open Science and Citizen Science via learning by doing practices. The main goal was to show the value of using digital methods and citizen science in order to study and organize the city according to citizens’ needs.

After a welcome address by Michalis Ktoris, who referred to the new role of libraries as knowledge hubs and participatory environments – the event started with a presentation of the CeOS_SE project by Sylvia Koukounidou.

Then, Assistant Professor Georgios Artopoulos gave an introductory presentation on Citizen Science, its value in understanding our cities, the benefits and the steps of the procedure of citizens involvement in research. He discussed the meaning of a ‘smart city’, why it is important and how this can be achieved.

The participants also had the opportunity to attend an interesting presentation by Iason Giraud, PhD Candidate at the Cyprus Institute. Mr Giraud, presented important tools that citizens can use to record and provide data to be further used for creating a city that has better services that are easily accessible to all. By providing data openly, the citizens can create their own map of a better-structured city and the municipalities can understand the needs of their citizens.

At the end of the presentation, there was a very constructive discussion between the participants and the speakers about finding solutions to the problems of our cities. In addition, citizens of Strovolos who attended the event were able to add and provide some data in the experimental urban mapping tool developed by Mr Giraud in the context of his PhD research, the NI4OS-Europe project and the CyI’s Virtual Environments Lab. A QR code for future upload of information was also provided to the participants.

By participating in this citizen-engagement activity, participants learned about the value of citizen science from a personal perspective, as they saw the benefit it could bring to their daily lives. CeOS_SE will be trialling more learning-by-doing events across our members in Southeastern Europe in the coming months. Stay tuned for news!