York St John University


Living Labs: Air quality - Learning at the Junction

York St John University’s main teaching campus is located on a busy city centre junction known for its poor air quality. Our very first Living Labs project has focused on this junction and the local challenges it presents, challenges which are on our doorstep but have a global relevance.

Ten teaching modules engaged with the project over the spring semester in 2022, bringing together varied disciplines ranging from music to biomedical sciences. The University’s Estates and Communications teams contributed to the project as well as members of the local community, local councillors, and air quality campaigners.

This was an inspiring, thought-provoking interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder project that helped to develop tomorrow’s employees. It successfully engaged students to develop their agency as researchers, advocates, and activists.

What the Judges Thought

We were impressed by the creativity and diversity of this innovative project. We appreciated the civic involvement of various stakeholders and the engagement of students into local issues, bringing multi-disciplinary ideas together to tackle a prevalent issue. 

What it Means to Win

"I am delighted to see York St John University and the work of our Living Lab recognised by the Green Gown, Tomorrow’s Employees award. The award is valuable recognition of our continued commitment to sustainability and social good as a university community. It reflects how dedicated our students and staff are about tackling the real-life issues facing our society. The Living Lab is a great example of what is possible when universities come together with local organisations with a common purpose to improve and support the communities in which we live and work. Many congratulations to everyone involved in the Living Lab: Learning at the Junction."

Professor Karen Bryan, Vice Chancellor

Top 3 Learnings

  1. Addressing a topic in Living Labs that has local as well as global relevance adds value to the learning experience, bringing textbook learning about ‘problems that don’t affect me’ to life on your doorstep.
  2. Engaging a wide range of subject areas, departments, and local stakeholders in Living Labs, demonstrates the importance to students in collaborating to solve real world problems.
  3. Establishing, running, and evaluating a Living Labs project takes time. To achieve success project management and administrative support is essential.

Video Script

3 - Good Health and Well-Being 4 - Quality Education 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
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