Amsterdam’s Trees Are Soon To Be Wi-Fi Hotspots

Usually associated with beautiful canal views and hundreds of bike-riding citizens, Amsterdam surprisingly seems to have a problem with air pollution. A local business has set out to tackle this problem by making use of an incentive-based intervention spread out across the city.

The team behind TreeWiFi is building smart birdhouses, which are actually not offering shelter for birds, but rather rewarding citizens when the air pollution levels in their neighborhood are low. Mounted to trees, these birdhouses will either light up in red or green, signaling high or low air pollution. When the air is relatively clean in the treehouse’s surrounding, it will turn into a Wi-Fi hotspot, free to use for everyone passing by. Users logging onto the Wi-Fi network will be provided with real-time data about the local air quality.

In a time in which nearly everyone equipped with a smartphone is yearning for connectivity on the go, free Wi-Fi might just be the right motivator to encourage citizens to choose alternative forms of transport and work together to improve the air quality in their neighborhood.

TreeWiFi is only one of recent attempts to raise awareness on the problem of air pollution. A fog mask brand has recently teamed up with an advertising agency in China, offering higher discounts on the masks when air pollution is on the rise again. The collaboration is aiming towards lifting the general mood and, quite literally, “helping China smile through the fog”.