In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency ranked Los Angeles as the most polluted US city in terms of ozone (non-particulate) pollution. Despite LA’s legacy as the first city to legislate a clean air policy, the city has been unable to respond effectively to this dangerous condition.

Black Lung in the City of Angels is an attempt to push back against this flaccid stagnation. By creating drone-mounted and bicycle-mounted environmental sensors, the project collects air quality data and maps the information relative to a GIS background. These neighborhood-scale measurements occupy the space between singular urban sensors and isolated DIY backyard specificity. The comparison of the built environment relative to air quality presences the role of architecture in this equation, empowering architects to engage with everything from micro-climates to municipal policy. Folded into these datasets are photographs and social media posts, presencing the the residents of Los Angeles within the process.

The glitch within the project is within the data collection. The scattered nature of GPS connections forced the sensors to be paused at critical locations- intersections, areas of traffic, and parking lots to ensure they were gathering the most critical data. This pause to ensure data collection emphasized the areas that were perceived to be problematic- emphasizing these areas more within the dataset. This feedback loop adds further agency to the resident, the sensor operator using their judgement to personalize an otherwise empirical dataset.

Black Lung in the City of Angels won 3rd Place at the Inaugural ACADIA Hackathon.
Team Members: Satoro Sugihara, Maider Llaguno Munitxa, Biayna Bogosian, Alex Webb and Jeff Maeshiro with assistance from Jason Kelly Johnson.
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