Locals to train as ‘citizen scientists’ to transform Glasgow's canals

06 April 2018

Locals to train as ‘citizen scientists’ to transform Glasgow

Dr Sebastien Chastin

Scottish Canals and Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) are working with ‘citizen scientists’ to investigate how Glasgow’s North canals are helping to build a healthier city.

With Scottish Canals recording a 400% increase in canals’ popularity in the last decade, they have teamed up with the University to recruit local volunteers to investigate the impact this has on peoples’ health.

The new three-year study has recruited local volunteers from Mayhill, Ruchill, and Cadder to collect data as ‘citizen scientists’ and work with the research team.

Volunteers have been equipped to track, upload, and share their experiences of what they like and dislike about their local area using ‘Our Voice’, a mobile app developed by Stanford University.

Dr Sebastien Chastin, Lead Researcher and Reader from the University’s School of Health and Life Sciences, described the idea as empowering locals.

He said: “We are empowering local people to gather data on Glasgow’s canals as citizen scientists and how this information can be used to build a healthier city.

“By giving locals the technology to collect data, it will provide us with clear objective evidence to help transform or change areas near the canal and make it more conducive to health and wellbeing."

Images collected by the project will be interpreted by the citizen scientists, with the help of the research team. It is expected findings will be released to the public later this year and it is hoped the project will help support funding bids, encourage investment, and make the changes which people want to see within their local communities.

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