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Brief Published: 5 Jul 2016

TreeWifi: Incentivising Green Communities

The bird house lights up green and enables free wi-fi access when air quality improves

Dutch start-up TreeWifi is motivating people in Amsterdam to reduce air pollution in their local environment by using bird boxes that monitor air quality.

The sensor-embedded boxes offer a continuous wi-fi signal that, when connected to a user's device, provides a splash screen with information on the air quality and tips for improving it, such as organising car-free days, lowering speed limits or switching to an electric vehicle. When air quality improves following local residents' green behaviour, the bird house lights up green and enables free wi-fi access – a design that makes addressing the issue more positive and approachable.

The start-up believes that community contributions will be rewarding in the long run, as people will see their behaviour directly impacting on local air quality. The start-up is looking to offer 'bigger, long-term incentives in co-operation with a municipality. Think about getting a new playground for the kids or an extra street sweep when the air quality improves over the course of months,' notes founder Joris Lam.

Currently crowdfunding online, TreeWifi aims to place 500 units in the streets of Amsterdam, later expanding to other European cities. The concept of wi-fi-connected products in urban environments could be further applied to improve issues such as recycling waste or water consumption.

TreeWifi represents a space in which technology is used to encourage citizens to participate in affording positive change. For devices that enable users to track their daily carbon footprint, see Worldbeing: Carbon-Tracking Wearable and App. See Consumer 2030 for more about peer-to-peer influence in promoting positive behaviour.