Addresspollution took an invisible killer and made it visible, through a data-driven approach that reframed it in a completely new way.
It turned a complex and overlooked raw data set into a first of its kind, public health system; understandable and meaningful for all.
Using this data, we hijacked a trillion pound property market and permanently embedded ourselves into its economics and regulations.
By making the data personal and relevant we transformed apathetic homeowners into environmental activists, relating air pollution to capitalist self interest.
As a result, we made headlines, drove individual action, created systemic change and rewrote the law.
10,000 Londoners die prematurely every year due to toxic air. The Mayor of London has declared it a public health emergency.
Air pollution has recently been linked to infertility, premature mortality and Covid-19 fatalities - to name but a few of the grisly consequences.
But air pollution is an invisible killer. Its particles are so small, you cannot see it. Unseen, ignored, and all the more deadly as a result. The data is there if you bother to look, but indecipherable to the general public. How could we get Londoners to see the problem, and care enough to do something about it by demanding government action?
Describe the Creative idea / data solution (20% of vote)
The data existed but was being overlooked by everyone. So, to get people to pay attention we needed to make it intelligible and relatable.
King’s College London had 1.5 billion raw data points covering NO² levels. But, when we pitched up it was just unintelligible numbers that didn’t tell a story. To make sense of it, we developed a five band rating system, which KCL approved, starting at low (1) and progressing up to very high (5). Each bracket (1-5) had health and financial costs attached to it.
For health, we plotted out the percentage increase in risk of disease related mortality created by an increase in 10mg of nitrogen dioxide per band.
For finance, we commissioned a study of 500 London adults. The panel were asked questions that analysed how air pollution would influence where they choose to live and how much they would be prepared to pay for
Describe the data driven strategy (30% of vote)
Focusing on the health risks alone hadn’t worked previously - people just told themselves ‘this won’t happen to me’. So, to make Londoners open their eyes to the perils of air pollution and demand action, we reframed it into something they care and talk about a lot: property prices.
Using the Air Quality Rating system we created with KCL, we built a website (addresspollution.org) where any Londoner could find out the ugly truth of air pollution and the potential impact on the value of their home. Shocked homeowners could then demand action at a local and national level with the click of a button.
Describe the creative use of data, or how the data enhanced the creative output (30% of vote)
The website was the simplest and most effective data visualisation - for the first time Londoners could generate a report to see what they were breathing and the effects on their health and property.
To launch it we ran a multi-channel data-driven guerrilla campaign.
We created an interactive data-responsive design system that spiked as air pollution was spiking, which ran in real-time responsive DOOH.
We used data to serve up ads to 650 real time responsive DOOH sites where air pollution was spiking.
By crunching the data we were able to target wealthy areas in high air pollution zones - home to some of the most influential UK landowners, with a direct line to the Government.
We direct mailed estate agents, ran property classifieds and projected onto billion pound property developments. In doing so, we made the invisible problem into a rolling news story.
List the data driven results (20% of vote)
WE MADE HEADLINES
We reached over 36 million people and were discussed on BBC, Good Morning Britain, Channel 4, SkyNews, ITV, TalkRadio and made the front page of the printed edition of The Times twice.
WE DROVE ACTION
Over 465,467 London households have generated an Air Quality Report.
WE GOT FUNDING TO EXPAND THE SYSTEM
The European Climate Coalition awarded us funding to launch the site nationwide including two more pollutants.
WE CREATED SYSTEMIC CHANGE
Estate agents now have a legal obligation to disclose our rating system. Zoopla have made it available to their 1 million monthly users. Search Smartly use our API and design system to produce ratings for every listing.
Local councils have adopted the measures homeowners petitioned for. Most importantly, we achieved the policy change we lobbied for: to bring forward the ban on petrol and diesel cars from 2040.