Can an App Make Our Cities More Breathable?

This app is giving a community in Brooklyn a look at just how bad their air pollution is, and the data to fix it.

The smartphone has become much more than a convenient way to grocery shop or share photos from the comfort of the couch. More and more, they’re ascending to the level of sophisticated health-care and environmental research tools. The Aircasting mobile app is just that, giving users insight into the staggering pollution levels in the air they breathe every day. A community center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is using this app and associated Airbeam hardware to collect data they can take to policymakers. From there, the hope is to shape real estate and urban planning decisions around a dire need to improve air quality. And this is just the beginning: Aircasting founder Michael Heimbinder sees a future in which this app is used in cities all over the world, giving people the information they need to make change.