About this Domain
At SMIT, we collaborate in smart city initiatives and investigate how their applicability and sustainability can be promoted. We believe it is not the technology itself, but how it is used, that makes cities smart. Hence, we engage public bodies, private organizations and individual citizens in co-creating solutions for urban challenges that help make sense of the abundant data generated by technology in the city. Our research is clustered around three areas: (1) innovation and growth, (2) democratic governance, citizenship and trust, and (3) inclusion and empowerment.
Smart cities as collaborative, contextual and collective efforts
What exactly makes a city ‘smart’? At SMIT, we believe that smart cities cannot be reduced to technology-mediated interaction, via mobile and other devices, in the urban space. In ‘truly smart’ city initiatives stakeholders from academia, public and private sector and the general public collaborate to make sense of the flood of data these technologies provide in order to tackle the local and societal challenges they are facing.
Increasing scale, applicability and sustainability
Smart city initiatives are no guaranteed success. A strictly top-down approach is likely to fall short as it tends to overemphasize governmental or corporate interests over others. A purely bottom-up initiative risks being able to reach the scale and validity that is needed.
At SMIT, we set up and collaborate in smart city initiatives and investigate how their scale, applicability and sustainability can be promoted by bridging bottom-up and top-down approaches. As part of this process, we explore how value and return can be optimized for all stakeholders involved. We actively engage individual citizens, public organizations, and private actors in planning and shaping their urban environment. We enable them to tackle shared urban issues and to co-create solutions.
- Innovation & growth: How can technology and design facilitate and augment how we understand and plan cities, how we manage urban services and utilities, and how we live and work as citizens?
- Democratic governance, citizenship & trust: How can we account for what citizens value through the design of urban technology (e.g. privacy and security) and how do we assess its public value?
- Inclusion and empowerment: How can smart city initiatives, such as citizen science or urban sensing, transform digital and social inequalities? And when are they at risk of reproducing them?
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- The Use of Live-Prototypes as Proxy Technology in Smart City Living Lab PilotsWith the rise of Internet-of-Things (IoT) a new wave of so-called smart technologies and related services have been introduced. When applied within an urban context, they tend to be ubiquitous, enabling a real-time interaction between the city, its environment and users, leading to a new set of human-computer interactions and user experiences. For the design of such technologies and services, researchers are challenged in finding effective methodologies that take into account this complex context of use. Especially in the very early phases of technology design, it can be rather complex to capture accurate user insights and requirements. In this paper, we investigate whether implementing a “live-prototyping tool” can respond to this need. By combining elements from both lo-fi prototyping as well as Proxy Technology Assessment (PTA), we investigated the benefits of an IoT-enabled proxy device as “live-prototyping tool”, that can be used during the first stages of development and deployed in the real-life environment of end-users. Results show that the use of such tool enables (HCI) researchers to collect more detailed data, interact more accurately and by so provide quick wins for the design and development process.
- Platform business models for smart citiesWalravens, N., & Ballon, P. (2013). Platform business models for smart cities: from control and value to governance and public value. IEEE Communications Magazine, 51(6), 72–79.
- A holistic impact-assessment framework for green ICTRaju, A., Lindmark, S., Delaere, S., & Ballon, P. (2013). A Holistic Impact-Assessment Framework for Green ICT. IT Professional, 15(1), 50–56.
- Policy recommendations supporting smart city strategiesWalravens N., Ballon P. (2017). Policy Recommendations Supporting Smart City Strategies: Towards a New Methodological Tool. In: Alba E., Chicano F., Luque G. (eds) Smart Cities. Smart-CT 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10268. Springer, Cham.
- Digital by default: Consequences, casualties and coping strategiesMariën, I., Heyman, R., Salemink, K., & Van Audenhove, L. (2016). Digital by Default: Consequences, Casualties and Coping Strategies. In J. Servaes & Oyedemi (Eds.), Social inequalities, Media and Communication: Theory and Roots (pp. 167–188). Rowman and Littlefield.