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Using a co-created transdisciplinary approach to explore the complexity of air pollution in informal settlements

West, Sarah E. and Bowyer, Cressida J. and Apondo, William and Büker, Patrick and Cinderby, Steve and Gray, Cindy M. and Hahn, Matthew and Lambe, Fiona and Loh, Miranda and Medcalf, Alexander and Muhoza, Cassilde and Muindi, Kanyiva and Njoora, Timothy Kamau and Twigg, Marsailidh M. and Waelde, Charlotte and Walnycki, Anna and Wainwright, Megan and Wendler, Jana and Wilson, Mike and Price, Heather D. (2021) 'Using a co-created transdisciplinary approach to explore the complexity of air pollution in informal settlements.', Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 8 (1).

Abstract

We present novel co-created transdisciplinary research that uses arts and humanities methods to explore air pollution in an informal settlement (Mukuru) in Nairobi, Kenya. Air pollution is a well-documented major human health issue, but despite many air pollution reduction interventions designed to improve health, these are frequently ineffective. Often this is because they fail to account for local knowledge, cultural practices and priorities of the intended recipients. Designing solutions therefore requires in-depth exploration of relevant issues with stakeholders. Researchers worked collaboratively with local residents to develop a range of methods to explore understandings of air pollution including interviews, storytelling, participatory mapping and theatre. Together, we uncovered contrasting definitions of air pollution, differing perceptions of who was responsible for enacting solutions, and overall a view that air pollution cannot be seen in isolation from the other issues faced by settlement residents. The methods used also allowed us to communicate about the topic with a wide audience. While we acknowledge that this research approach is more time consuming than traditional approaches, we urge other researchers wishing to address multifactorial problems, such as air pollution to use a mixture of qualitative, participatory and creative methods to engage with a wide range of stakeholders to elicit new and unexpected understandings that may not otherwise emerge.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00969-6
Publisher statement:Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date accepted:02 November 2021
Date deposited:01 February 2022
Date of first online publication:19 November 2021
Date first made open access:01 February 2022

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