Start Year: 2020

Designing for Engagement in Indoor Air Quality in Low-Income Households

A large proportion of low-income households in suburban areas, such as Trenton, NJ, suffer from air pollution that negatively influences health and quality of life of people living in the area. For instance, Trenton has a mix of income levels and housing types, including very dilapidated neighborhoods with extremely impoverished residents, and suffers from poor air quality. However, relatively little effort has been made to understand how low-income households engage with, perceive, and assess indoor air quality (IAQ). While poor IAQ is a universal issue of concern across socioeconomic groups, special attention needs to be given to resource-deficit populations, as existing solutions might not be affordable for and applicable to them.

This research, funded by Community Design for Health and Wellness, seeks to contribute to new understanding of the persuasive force of a technology that is coupled with the collective power of community-driven efforts in assessing, visualizing and ultimately solving societal problems that low-income households face. CDHW-funded activities (field studies, literature review, and system design and implementation) will form the basis for later longitudinal field deployment studies of the novel socio-technical IAQ system for which we will seek external funding.  This CDHW-enabled research will enhance our understanding of human perceptions and behaviors related to health threats due to indoor air pollution from individual households to the community level, and eventually will lead to effective solutions to improve quality of life in impacted communities.

This is a collaborative project through a joint effort between research partners in the Rutgers’ SC&I, Center for Green Building, and Environmental Science, and community partners from Isles, a community development and environmental organization in Trenton whose mission is to foster healthy and sustainable communities.