From Environmental Monitoring to Mitigation Action: Considerations, Challenges, and Opportunities for HCI

Graham Dove, Shiyu Chen, Daniel Fries, Vanessa Johnson, Charlie Mydlarz, Juan Pablo Bello, Oded Nov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Noise pollution is among the most consistently cited and highest impact quality-of-life issues in major urban areas across the US, with more than 70 million people estimated to be exposed to noise levels considered harmful. While HCI and CSCW has a relatively rich history of engagement with monitoring such environmental concerns, e.g. through participatory sensing, prior research has not to our knowledge engaged with the process of municipal mitigation. In this paper we present research in this direction, connecting support for pervasive environmental monitoring with civic engagement in mitigation action. Having first identified and described the research space for this engagement, we present empirical data from an ongoing case study focused on two communities living with chronic problem noise. We probe the experiences of residents and representatives of different municipal organizations tasked with addressing their concerns. We find that making and drawing on records of noise is important to residents and authorities, that these groups have misaligned perceptions of how effective current reporting programs are, and that communication between them can be poor. We also find that noise is often one part of more complex issues. We then discuss our findings in light of prior research, and identify a model of civic sensing that highlights opportunities for HCI design and research including: supporting residents' coordinated actions and actions with municipal open data, mediating residents' and authorities' assessments of data quality, and supporting accountability and attributable mitigation action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number368
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022


  • digital civics
  • environmental monitoring
  • municipal noise mitigation
  • participatory sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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