ICARUS was a four years project funded in the frame of H2020 which is made up of 18 Partner Institutions from 9 European countries all with multidisciplinary expertise and experience in intersecting and complimentary research in research areas related to the climate and the environment and their interactions with health and wellbeing. The high scientific quality of the ICARUS team was based on the extensive and long-term experience of the partners, which included leading scientists and risk health research institutes in Europe.

ICARUS developed a first-of-a-kind transdisciplinary methodology and toolkit for integrated impact assessment so that air quality improvement, climate change mitigation and health promotion could be evaluated efficiently in key sector policies. To this aim ICARUS developed innovative tools for urban impact assessment leading to design and implement win-win strategies to improve the air quality and reduce the carbon footprint in European cities.

We employed state-of-the-art technologies for fusing the necessary environmental and ancillary information to allow for cost-effective air pollution monitoring and assessment. The tools developed allow the analytical accounting of the main industrial and area emission sources in the area and the creation of precise and updated emission inventories. An integrated approach was used for air pollution monitoring combining ground-based measurements, atmospheric transport and chemical transformation modelling and air pollution indicators derived from satellite, airborne and personal remote sensing. Thus, air quality is readily assessed across different spatial scales in the participating cities.

Agent-based modelling was used to capture the interactions of population subgroups, industries and service providers in response to the policies considered in the project. Thus, social and cultural factors, socio-economic status (SES) and societal dynamics were explicitly taken into account to assess overall policy impact. Our findings were translated into a web-based guidebook for sustainable air pollution and climate change governance in all EU cities.

ICARUS developed a vision of a future green city: a visionary model that seeks to minimize environmental and health impacts. Transition pathways were drawn that demonstrate how current cities can be transformed towards cities with close to zero or negative carbon footprint and maximal wellbeing within the next 50 years. To this aim we developed a transition pathway, which demonstrates how current cities in Europe can be transformed towards green cities within the next 50 years. To raise citizen awareness regarding the impacts of their activities on air pollution and climate forcing and increase societal acceptance of emission reduction policies, a web- and smartphone/tablet-based tool was developed to inform citizens in participating cities about how their life style affects their carbon footprint and the health impacts of their actions/consumer choices. They can now explore individually how downstream impacts change from commensurate change in their behaviour/activities or monitor the overall social responsibility in their area/neighbourhood and how it affects their quality of life.

The ICARUS methodology and toolkit was applied in nine EU cities of variable size, socio-economic condition and history. Technological and non-technological measures and policy options were analyzed and proposed to the responsible authorities for air pollution and/or climate change at the city level. Based on the advanced monitoring and assessment tools outlined above, a cloud-based solution was developed to inform citizens of environment-conscious alternatives that may have a positive impact on air quality and carbon footprint and finally on their health and motivate them to adopt alternative behaviours.