Not just noise monitoring: rethinking citizen sensing for risk-related problem-solving

Anna Berti Suman*, Marina van Geenhuizen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
183 Downloads (Pure)


Can grassroots-driven citizen sensing initiatives triggered by distrust contribute to risk problem-solving? The article inspects such a potential in the field of risks to public health represented by noise pollution. After a conceptual reflection, the Amsterdam Schiphol and the London Heathrow airports’ noise monitoring cases are compared. We inquire: How did lay people use citizen sensing to find solutions to the increase in noise? Which perceptions/actions influence and facilitate the problem-solving potential of citizen sensing? We found that the main citizens’ actions leading to solutions are an adequate contesting of information monopoly through the production of valid data, as well as the challenging of institutional strategies to improve risk-related problem-solving. Accordingly, the citizen sensing initiative may generate mutual understanding and stimulate the institutional recognition of the problem and urgency for solving it. The article provides a novel exploration of evidence on performance of actors showing the problem-solving potential of citizen sensing through a preliminary performance matrix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-567
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • airports
  • Citizen sensing
  • environmental health risk
  • noise pollution
  • risk problem-solving


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