Swiss Corona Citizen Science

A collaborative investigation on housing conditions and wellbeing in times of COVID-19 containment: exploring the social effects of the crisis and co-creating sustainable post-crisis futures.

Project team: 

Prof. Claudia R. Binder, Livia Fritz, Ulli Vilsmaier – EPFL/HERUS
Prof. Vincent Kaufmann, Garance Clément, Laurie Daffe – EPFL/LASUR
Prof. Daniel Gatica-Perez – EPFL/IDEAP
Prof. Marie Santiago Delefosse, Angélick Schweizer, Fabienne Fasseur – UNIL

Duration: 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic and political responses to it have heavily disrupted our routines and the organisation of our societies. During lockdown our domestic living spaces transformed into places of research, schooling, care, and recreation—condensed spaces that required fast adaptations of our daily practices and spatial organization. While in March 2020 health concerns directly related to COVID-19 were center stage in public debates in Switzerland, we noticed early on warnings about interlinked crises and the potential impact of lockdown measures on the mental, physical and social well-being of those affected by them, including the risk of isolation, precarious living conditions, and rising gender inequalities.

Given the need to better understand the impact of COVID-19 related confinement measures on housing and well-being in Switzerland, this project implemented a transformative mixed methods design aimed at exploring the crisis situation by offering citizens and scientists a space for engagement and opportunities to strengthen their abilities to act – both during the crisis as well as for creating sustainable post-crisis futures. The study consisted of four research components: a country-wide survey, interviews, a mobile crowdsourcing application, and an interactive citizen science format. It was realized entirely online during the lockdown and shortly after the easing of lockdown measures in Switzerland.

We pursued three main goals:

  • From a scientific perspective: Assessing and monitoring how different population groups experience, adapt to and cope with the COVID-19 crisis and the related policy responses in Switzerland; comparing the Swiss situation with other national contexts;
  • From a citizen perspective: sharing and discussing the current situation and therefore building a sense of belonging; developing a reflexive relationship towards the situation; accessing information and existing support tools related to economic, social or health risks to navigate the COVID-19 crisis;
  • From a collective perspective: Enabling mutual learning between citizen scientists and experts to tackle negative effects of COVID-19 related measures and to co-create desirable and sustainable post-crisis futures.




Explore, engage, empower: methodological insights into a transformative mixed methods study tackling the COVID-19 lockdown

L. Fritz; U. Vilsmaier; G. Clément; L. Daffe; A. Pagani et al. 

Humanities and Social Sciences Communications. 2022-05-17. Vol. 9, num. 175. DOI : 10.1057/s41599-022-01197-2.

Activities, Housing Situation and Other Factors Influencing Psychological Strain Experienced During the First COVID-19 Lockdown in Switzerland

R. Hansmann; L. Fritz; A. Pagani; G. Clément; C. R. Binder 

Frontiers in Psychology. 2021-09-28. Vol. 12. DOI : 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.735293.