Citizen sensing from a legal standpoint: Legitimizing the practice under the Aarhus framework

Anna Berti Suman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
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'Citizen sensing', grassroots-driven environmental monitoring, could revolutionize environmental risk governance and decision-making. Yet, citizen sensing is far from being accepted by governmental authorities. This contribution explores the environmental law doctrine and legislation for a possible legal basis on which the 'sensing citizens' could perform their actions. I argue that the practice, by nature, voices the citizen's claims to have access to (accurate) environmental information. I defend that citizen sensing is a legitimate manifestation of 'rights in action' that can enhance the respect of human environmental rights and promote their enforcement. This study demonstrates how, from the Aarhus Convention framework, an obligation for competent authorities to 'listen' to the sensing citizens might even be constructed in case of institutional informational gaps and failures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-38
Number of pages31
JournalJournal for European Environmental and Planning Law
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Citizen sensing
  • Environmental decision-making
  • Environmental risk governance
  • Public participation
  • The right to access environmental information


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