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The Air We Breathe

Oct 5 6:00 PM - Oct 19 12:00 AM


511 Building - Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design

Design Corridor


511 NW Broadway
Portland, Oregon, 97209   [map]

Richmond, CA is an industrial town just 18 miles northeast of San Francisco and 8 miles north of Berkeley. As its local economy is primarily powered by the oil industry, it has long dealt with the impacts of air pollution from several close industrial sites, primarily the Chevron Richmond Refinery. Community action has led to positive outcomes by way of implementing air quality sensors to keep track of minute-by-minute air quality data, ensuring that companies are being transparent about pollution levels. Yet, the people of Richmond are still dealing with troubling air quality issues on a daily basis. In community meetings, citizens have raised concerns about the prevalence of asthma, cancer, heart disease, rashes, and nosebleeds in their community, as well as air that has a “metallic” taste. Our exhibition explores this complex story through data-driven design. After analyzing a macro set of minute-by-minute air quality data between June–August, 2017 and micro moments of joy shared by community members on Instagram in this time period, we bring data to life to help put a face on air pollution’s potentially harmful impacts on the people of Richmond.