The Black Cloud: Using Games to Understand Air Quality

A game by Prof. Greg Niemeyer aims to draw connections between human
behavior and local air pollution in a innovative learning environment.


Many sensors are available for your review at
If you would like to host  a sensor for a while, please let Greg know. They are especially interested in unusual businesses and schools. Their
favorite location right now is Zellerbach Hall: 



Black Cloud Overview


by Nate Berg


Cities are polluted places, and everyone knows it. Beijing is just coming out
of a month-long media barrage on the city's poor air quality. Los Angeles, the
original City of Smog, has been hearing it for decades. And though the existence
of pollution is well known, it's not so well understood.


In L.A, the city as a whole could be considered a polluted place, but the
level of pollution actually varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, and
sometimes even street to street. These local differences don't often play into
the common perception of environmental issues like pollution or global warming,
according to Greg Niemeyer, an associate professor at the University of
California Berkeley's Department of Art Practice. He's hoping to change that

"We have a lot of statistics about pollution and global warming, but it's
very hard to translate the idea that the temperature globally is rising by 0.1
degree Celsius over the year," says Niemeyer. To help in that translation, he's
developed an interactive game that aims to bridge the gap between peoples'
perception of pollution problems and the local human behaviors that cause them.


The entire story can be found at