City of Houston

At a Glance


Government/Public Administration

Project Type

Climate Justice/Energy Equity




Houston, TX


Kanan Patel provided detailed insights into air pollution trends in Houston and created strategies to improve air quality monitoring performance and efforts.


The City of Houston has a robust initiative to address air pollution hotspots and has invested in a city-wide, low-cost sensor network and air quality instruments deployed on mobile platforms. The City of Houston enlisted Kanan to analyze trends in air pollution data and provide insights to improve monitoring. With this analysis, Kanan aimed to help the city meet C40 commitments and air quality standards.


Kanan collaborated with the Environmental Defense Fund and the City of Houston to utilize data from the low-cost sensor network and the air toxics mobile monitoring platform to map the temporal and spatial trends in air pollution. Kanan focused her analysis on four goals:

  1. Improve Data Quality: Using statistical comparison methods, Kanan identified the need to update the calibration models of the low-cost sensors to meet the new EPA recommended metrics of performance.
  2. Identify Potential Emissions Sources: With wind analysis and unsupervised machine learning, Kanan identified hotspots of high PM2.5 concentrations across the low-cost sensor city network.
  3. Map Air Toxics Data: With unsupervised machine learning and geo-spatial averaging, Kanan developed maps of air toxics concentrations and identified a strategy to improve spatial coverage and compute robust estimates of average concentrations.
  4. Develop Frameworks: Finally, Kanan developed frameworks and scripts to ingest, analyze, process, and visualize future data.

Potential Impact

Kanan’s analyses and strategies will help the City of Houston improve their air quality monitoring efforts to meet the C40 commitments and reduce air pollution in the region. Kanan set up replicable work processes to analyze air quality data and track performance for future measurements. Updated calibration models and implementation of data frameworks developed by Kanan will aid public health monitoring and policy framing. These tools will also support the city’s response to promote the health and social well-being of Houstonians and the environment in which they live. 

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