Turkish healthcare students help AiREAS interculturally

In a city like Eindhoven over 150 nationalities co-exist, each with their corresponding cultural backgrounds. To involve them all in the co-creation of their own healthy city and environment is complicated due to cultural and language issues. The largest population of people from a different culture is Turkish. The proof of principle of AiREAS tries to involve the entire diversity of the local population and hence also wants to reach the Turkish community. It is of interest to see how different cultures deal with the issue of air pollution and lifestyle and how they can get triggered by the information and support provided by AiREAS?

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Air pollution has different characteristics and origins

Despite various attempts, and even having an Alderman of Turkish origin in the city council of Eindhoven, AiREAS had not yet been able to access this important group of citizens.

Turkish students visit AiREAS
Another City of Tomorrow program, STIR Academy, had partnered with an organization that was looking for learning activities for groups of Turkish students who will be visiting Holland the next 7 years. Awareness is one of the 5 sustainocratic key issues together with food, health, safety , self sufficiency. The idea was born to not just tell these students about AiREAS and its challenges but involve them in the intercultural communication part. They would get acquianted with a complex reality of global pollution issues, awareness, interpretations and communication up to challenging maybe cultural habits that are polluting and maybe subject to change. In Holland people have their fireworks tradition during newyears while the Turkish don’t necessarily. They on the other hand have a strong food tradition with extensive barbecueing. How to deal with traditions, modern insights and the global and local issue of pollution with all the effects on our health, quality of life, environmental harmony and economies?

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We decided to involve the visiting students.

What is AiREAS?

In the morning the students were educated on the concept of “healthy city” of AiREAS Eindhoven and the complexity of reaching the population for active involvement.

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In the afternoon they were asked to work things out from a culture and communication point of view. The objective was that these Turkish students would explain the AiREAS issues to the local Turkish community. The issue became multidimensionalfor them to work out:

  • What is culture?
  • What is communication?
  • What is AiREAS?
  • How do I involve in a multicultural setting?

The initiative was well received by all youngsters who displayed wit, creativity and humor in dealing with their task.

The next day, moment of truth

The students were asked to present their finding to the elders society of the Turkish community that gathered in town. Meanwhile the program management became eager to also start Local AiREAS in cities of Turkye.

The encounter with the elders community started with all kinds of formal introduction that showed the importance of the meeting.

  • Turkish chairman explained the migration pattern of first generation Turks and the difficulty to integrate due to a low level of education, fear for discrimination and language issues causing isolation of the groups.
  • The local organisor of the exchange platform of students and intercultural interaction explained AiREAS and the relationship with health among different members of the same community
  • The Turkish organisor explained the importance for Turkey and the initiatives started with AiREAS in Turkey
  • The teacher from Turkey that travels with the group expresses his gratitud for the interaction
  • I myself, Jean-Paul Close, explained the importance for health as we understand this accross all cultures and to get to a health driven awareness and innovative understanding when we share the same living space and environment in town.
Jean-Paul explains, Rustem translates

Jean-Paul explains, Rustem translates

Then the students got into action. They had sellected three girls who explained their mission, the cultural interests and the need to work together. The invented a trick to get everyone participating in the process using a toilet roll. Everyone was asked to tear one or more pieces and mention for each piece what personal responsibility in the process of `healthy city` development one could take. Every idea was placed as a leaf on the tree.

Three students presented their views and mission

Three students presented their views and mission

In Turkish, the actions that were collected

In Turkish, the actions that were collected

The interaction was very well received and 3 people of the Turkish community signed up for the health research project for which we are very grateful.

The closure

The closure was characterized by the chairman of the group who proved to be a good musician too and with the message `if we can eat, sing and dance together we can work together too!`

If we can dance together we can work together

If we can dance together we can work together

Muziek!

Music!

A venture is born

A venture is born

The proof of principle health and lifestyle started

Today the first people of the testgroup for clinical health and lifestyle research were involved in the program that represents the second key sensoring backbone of AiREAS next to the fine maze air quality measurement network called ILM. With this program we intend to link awareness, health insight, lifestyle and air quality in one feedback system hoping to trigger innovation driven response from the citizens.

Heart and artery echo

Dr. Eric de Groot is heart research specialist doing long term research on the effects of polution on the human being. Het coordinates the infrastructure and process of heart rate measurements and the artery flexibility and echo through a painless and highly informative individual exercise.

The measurement process is explained by Dr. de Groot

The measurement process is explained by Dr. de Groot

Both can follow the process and discuss the findings

Both can follow the process and discuss the findings

E-Health

Assistant Professior Pierre Cluitmans (TU/e) explains the working of the equipment that the participant will wear for a week to get a view of the heart rate in faily life and activities.

It is important that participants get a clear understanding of what we do and what they can expect from it back

It is important that participants get a clear understanding of what we do and what they can expect from it back. Afterall it is their own body and lifestye

The measurement equipment will be on the body for a week.

The measurement equipment will be on the body for a week.

GPS Tracker

John Schmeitz (ICT and Database AiREAS) explains how the GPS tracker works that gives us information of the whereabouts of the participant during the week. This information can be related to the level of polution he or she was exposed to any moment.

The GPS tracker keeps track of the whereabout of the person

The GPS tracker keeps track of the whereabout of the person

Constant feedback

Within the program we seek persuasive communication, stimulating people to become aware of their own behavior and posibilities to improve their living environment. In order to achieve this we need to learn how to communicate effectively. We are helped by the people themselves whowe ask to give direct feedback on what they experience and what it did with them.

Feedback is essential in such complex multidimensional and multidisciplinary process

Feedback is essential in such complex multidimensional and multidisciplinary process

Fun, informative and relevant

After 2 information evenings, the feedback and the first measurement day, the process itself was already experienced as fun, informative and relevant by participants and the organizers. The idea is to get locally over 4000 people involved and create a dynamic process that can be adopted fast and effectively in every region of the world.

The measurement network ILM

The measurement network ILM

With the multiple data (air quality, direct observation, health, e-Health, GPS, lifestyle, etc) in real time combined in a dynamic sensoring and feedback structure research can be done on the ecosystem of the city, the citizens and the feedback needed to create a positive health driven culture of social and applied technological innovation.

The program develops knowledge and expertise on value driven persuasive technologies and communication in relation to the big challenges with face as society and species. The city as self aware health and values driven ecosystem is the ultimate goal.

Chai Ling’s under the dome

Here you find a short intro of the impressive document of Chai Ling about the air polution in China and her own awareness breakthrough when she realized how vulnerable her new born daughter was in this situation. The document is a statement that calls for responsibility in the whole world, not just China.

Her awareness breakthrough is similar to the one experienced by the founder of the City of Tomorrow and AiREAS, single father Jean-Paul Close, who also came to the life mission to cocreate a society in which health and safety is carried as basic responsibility above politics and economics. He also became aware when having to deal with his responsibility for his two small children. With the image created by Chai Ling and the sustainocratic organization for “healthy cities” of Jean-Paul Close through AiREAS we can take responsibility all together, first as human beings, fathers and mothers, and secondly by using the professional authority and talents that we can bring in.