Smart Cities: An Introduction to Urban Integrated Networked Solutions

In its current state, the vision of a smart city is very much fostered by a technologically enhanced worldview of the urban condition, whereas traditional and modern communication infrastructure, mainly the transport and ICT infrastructures, fuel sustainable urban growth and the quality of urban life. Smart cities are envisioned as wired and ICT-driven cities, saturated with embedded sensors, actuators, digital screens, hand-held devices and smart phones and all sorts of embedded and situated computing devices, with connectivity as the source of their growth and the driver of their effective performance, where all social classes benefit from the technological integrations of their urban fabric.
Taking to account this technology-driven view of our smart city frenzied world, the course is organized around four dimensions: (1) a literature review of Smart Cities, (2) an analytical case study of proposed or practiced smart city solutions, (3) a rigorous cataloging of urban problems that can be addressed by smart city inspired solutions, and finally, (4) a hands-on approach towards envisioning, proposing, designing, developing, and prototypical implementation of ITC-driven, networked and integrated solutions to the catalogued urban problems. For the purpose of prototypical implementation of smart city inspired solutions, the students are offered with the basic technical knowledge for programming virtual platforms as well as those that allow for physical computing and electronic prototyping within the framework of a series of three integrated technical workshops on Arduino, Processing and iOS programming—programming for iphone and ipad.

The theoretical framework of the course is very much based on multiple papers co-authored by Nashid Nabian and Carlo Ratti (Director of MIT SENSEable City Lab) on the very same subject. The course is partially funded by University Of Bergamo and a site visit to Bergamo is scheduled for the week of October 6th–13th. Students enrolled in this seminar will be term billed $300 and will be responsible for the cost of meals and incidentals associated with this trip. The idea generation and prototypical implementation of proposed platforms will target the problem areas identified during the site visit. Prior knowledge of virtual, physical or mobile programming is not required, but very much appreciated.

(1)Andrea Caragliu, Chiara Del Bo & Peter Nijkamp, “Smart Cities in Europe,” Journal of Urban Technology, vol.18 issue.2 (2011) 65–82.