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Sign-up for one article under any of the 5 topics listed below, then write a short reflection/response on your chosen article.

TOPIC 1:  Transportation & Mobility

Article:  Kostakos, Ojala, & Juntunen, 2013

Sign-up: Robin, Stephanie, Chenxi, Archon


Cynthia- Since transportation and mobility is something that affects almost everyone, this area does seem like a good investment for the well being of everyone in city. However, it seems like this concept of smart transportation/mobility is still at the stages where faceless controllers operate things behind the scenes in order to alleviate problems. It will be interesting to see this technology develop into a more social movement as the information becomes more accessible to the public. Also, it would be interesting to see where it goes in the future, for instance replacement of specific roads with Elon Musk's hyper loop transporter. 

Stephanie S - Shortly after I moved away from the Sunshine Coast, the city of Sechelt implemented a free Wi-Fi zone

The idea was to create increased connectivity and technological opportunities, however, I began to wonder what else could be involved with free Wi-Fi  If everyone is on a shared network what does that mean?  What does that open up?  Why do most homeowners place passwords on their internet?  Is there a way to monitor the community through this implementation?  Could the city track individuals as they enter the free zone?  Can anyone observe what is occurring online?  It might depend on your knowledge of the city, community, the area, previous crime sprees, common misdemeanors that occur, the types of establishments in the area

Chenxi: Smart transportation is a typical use of big data. Not only geographical information, but also social media, street camera, traffic volume, police information network and a lot of other things can be and should be utilized to optimize the traffic. The benefits are not limitedtobettertrafficsavingpeopletime and cost, it can alsocontributetoenvironmentprotection, energy consuming, safety issues, etc. We should definitely make the bestuseoftheseinformation, but should we make it accessible to everyone? I'm not sure. Maybe we need to carefully consider the degree of sharing in case some terrorists take advantage of it.

Archon: It is a robust idea tousecity-widesensingfor traffic control. I believe people would be willing to pay anything just to make the traffic problem go away. But I think this idea would be more interesting if we try to connect it with driver-less car. If we could replace the existing cars with driver-less cars, and connect them together, do we stillneedcity-widesensors? Can we have a control center that instructs each car which route it should take? If we can do so, then the problem would no longer be how we respond to the traffic problem, it will become how we control the traffic. And I think this is the direction we are heading.

TOPIC 2:  Buildings & Architecture 

Article:  IBM Smarter Buildings  (Read through the webpage and watch the 2-minute video)

Sign-up: Stef, Tiffany, Sharon, Cady, Yudi, Lu


Tiffany - I like the point that a smart building is not an island, in that it should consider and communicate with it’s external environment. For instance, a smart building can also be green by using renewable energy sources or contributing back to the environment with rooftop farms/gardens (which can contribute to urban happiness as discussed by Montgomery, 2013). Since buildings are structures and one of the building blocks of a city, it’s important to consider not only the layout of a city but also it’s individual components, and how a city as a whole can be smarter and contribute to happiness, being environmentally responsible, etc.

Sharon - IBM presents the possibility for buildings to work together as an ecosystem to minimize energy consumption. They claim that by data sharing between facilities and IT organizations, smarter building can reduce energy by up to 40%. Real-time data gathering and analysis allows management to address issues proactively and allows developers to visualize energy usage before construction. I worry about privacy issues... data patterns for energy usage could be of interest to criminals and sharing that data with more parties could increase the risks of being robbed. However, in my opinions, the benefits of decreasing energy consumption far outweighs such negative implications.

Cady - This is a really cool product that IBM has put together. After watching the promotional videos, including the case studies, and reading what was there, I do worry that in the process of making the building smart they are focusing only on the machine to machine interactions, when energy efficiency might be just as greatly improved, if not more in some cases by consulting people working in the buildings to figure out how they use the space. By integrating the building’s users, the process of making the building more smart would be a combination of behaviour change as well as facilities changes. There are most certainly human actions in buildings that go on that are not part of what the building and its machines were designed for. When making a building smart, it may be productive to look at the gap between the data the machines are providing about the building and the data people are providing so that the monitored “real-time” information is actually complete. Integrating all the building’s users in the process of making the building SMART, not just installing computer systems, may be most effective.

Yudi: I a hundred percent agree with Cady’s opinion on the relationship between human action and the designing of the buildings. Not only by analyzing the data and optimizing the function of the surroundings, “human” as building users need to be aware of their misbehaviors and friendly use the facilities regarding the energy saving. It reminds me the side effect of Earth Hour even it can be a bit off-topic, which is an annual event that to raise awareness of energy issues by convincing people to shut off the lights in their houses and public buildings for one hour on one specific night. In fact, in places where lots of people participate, there might even be a small, temporary uptick in emissions. When fossil fuel power plants are forced to rapidly increase or decrease the amount of electricity they produce, they also produce more emissions. Therefore, the change of infrastructure and shared systems are the only way to produce the energy-saving into actual work

Lu: I appreciate the idea that the green buildings do more than enhance the efficiency of the facilities within the buildings; perhaps more importantly, they also serve to reduce energy consumption as much as 40% or even more and contributes to curbing the proliferation of environmental pollution. In addition, smart buildings can lower the maintainance cost  and enhance the use of modern technology to make people's life easier and more convinience. Meanwhile, compared with regular and normal constructions, the green buildings will be more pricy, due to the use of modern technology and facilities. Moreover, the feasibility of the idea is also doubted, because for certain remote areas or those impoverished regions, especially in developing countries, people there do not even have proper access to eletricity, no mention of spending a bunch of money on introducing or utilizing the smart buildings. However, the green/smart buildings do have a promising future.

TOPIC 3:  Resource & Energy Consumption

Article:  Kansari, Motashari, & Mansouri, 2014

Sign-up:  Sarah, Ahmad, Ming


Ming- If we exam the normal idea adoption process, it usually takes four steps from awareness-interest-desire-action. With the smart or mobile technology, it seemsthatuserwilleasilyskippedthe first two steps. By downloading and using the application, the user already shows the awareness and interest in the concept. Of course, the social networking and social media, can spread the information or idea in a way that none of the early technology can do. The power of creating the market awareness and the interest has never been so forceful. If theappdemonstrategreatvisual representationofthe resource or energy idea, the message will be very likely to be accepted and action to be carried on.

Ahmad: The authors talked about a number of ways that may help to reduce the energy consumption. They stated “In smart cities, governments and businesses invest in ICTs to improve sustainable development and quality of life, by providing smart urban infrastructures that will inform residents about the desired environmental”. Also, the authors considered an important role for “hidden curriculum” which is mentioned in the article as “social norms”: “Social norms are able to influence energy conservation through interactions between friends, neighbors, family in the community that emphasizes on energy saving”. Although the authors considered an active role for governments, businesses, and the society, they forgot to consider the education systems. I believe education systems have the potential to change the social behavior with less expenses, so I think education systems should take the responsibility to do that. That being said, if we are moving toward smart cities, education systems should well prepare current teachers in order to be able to effectively participate in the process of changing the social behaviour of the next generation.

 The authors stated that “To change energy behavior, belief, value, and attitude should be considered. Combination of information and goal setting strategies is able to motivate individuals to have an energy efficient pattern”. My question is that what organizations can change the behavior, belief, value, and attitude as effective as education system?

TOPIC 4:  Pollution & Waste Production/Management 

Article:  Chowdhury & Chowdhury, 2007 

Sign-up:  Mari, Jim


Jim: Wow - this paper is awesome.  almost10 years old - and focused on what was then already a fairly "commoditizable" technology of RFID and Wifi.  

Basically, it allows a kind of "surveillance data" about the various forms of waste - recycling, green waste,etc" - which could allow for smarter planning, as wellasinformationalorincentivizingprograms, etc.  Could allow people to get tax breaks based on the ratio of landfill to other recycled waste, which would be great.  Also, for accountability, of whether the city is doing well, and how much recycling came in, and what kind of revenue that translated into.  Alsoautomatization- where these RFID tags could allow for robots to do the sorting and processing more easily. Lots to think about,withwaste.  What other kinds of functions could waste containers perform? 


TOPIC 5: Safety, Security & Policing

Article:  IBM, 2014

Sign-up:  Alisa, Peter




Find (existing) examples of "Smart" technologies/systems for each of the five special topics noted below.  Add these examples to the corresponding Google spreadsheet.

1. Transportation & Mobility

2. Buildings & Architecture 

3. Resource & Energy Consumption

4. Pollution & Waste Production/Management

5. Safety, Security & Policing


  1. As a group, how did you decide where to place the items on your map?


    Chenxi: I think we decide where to place the items based on the existing items. For example, we built our living community on one side of the river at first, so we built certain facilities such as grocery store and school near the community. And now I realized the problem is that we should also consider the future development of the city.
    Tiffany: At first, we spaced out our homes near major roads. As the game progressed, we had to decrease the amount of spacing between homes (e.g. no more large estate lots) and designated certain areas as the “housing area” versus the “city”.
    Sharon: We first tried to spread everything out as much as possible as we were not aware of what was to come. When it was time to introduce a second round of homes and roads we left less space between structures. We also took into consideration environmental and safety factors (ie. factories far away from agricultural land, the pub far away from the river).
    Archon: At first we decide to cluster the house and facilities near the river and bridge. Because it should be the most convenient place for people to live. But as the population grows, we soon find ourselves into trouble. The city has to expand, but there is not enough facilities, so that only the rich people can afford the houses that are near the town center and facilities. Also, we often draw roads that are short, which make the city development hard when we add facilities.

  2. What were some of the difficulties yourgroup faced when placing buildings on your map? How might this relate to the real world?


    Chenxi: After round 6 maybe, we started to have difficulties in putting more items in, the reason is, obviously, we don't have plan for future. Actually, we saved some spaces intentionally, but we didn't know what's the next round, that's why we are unable to adapt to the rapid growth of the city very well. In real world, urban planners often fail to see how fast the city grow and fail to recognize future needs.
    Tiffany: Difficulties our group faced included trying to find the most “appropriate” location for a service that would be accessible by a road to allow for easy access, and proximity to other major landmarks like the mine or railway. For instance, when we built the cemetery, we built it beside a church due to convention, and kept it fairly distant from our housing area (we had mixed feelings about placing it closer to homes). Moreover, as a community changes, so do the needs of the people and the services that should be available. For example, new suburban neighbourhoods typically have a school and community centre built nearby which is great for new families. However, as the family ages, they may require more services/amenities such as public transit, post-secondary education, hospitals, and long-term care homes.
    Once the factories and mines were placed and the rest of the city was crowded, it was difficult to find places for homes that weren't near these two items. You can see how city planners would run into difficulties in deciding where such facilities go and which citizens have to suffer the consequences of living near a factory, for example. 
    Archon:Initially we have a mindset of ancient people, who wants to cluster together, and short road. But when we have to put more and more facilities and houses in, we do not have enough space. All of our decision seems reasonable at that era, but seems stupid in the future. I do know how people can foresee the change in the future, and I think in the real world, they will inevitably facing this situiation.

  3. If you could control the development of a future town or city, what laws/policies would you put into place to make it a better place to live?


    Chenxi: Uran planning must be decided based on scientific research regarding the prediction of future development of the city. Toronto is actually doing a good job. I think I've read some government reports predicting the situation after 20-30 years. Planning ahead and sustainable development are the keys.
    Tiffany: It would be great to have policies on how to handle or minimize crowding, as well as a plan for how growth is handled. For instance, will amenities for all age ranges be available when a new suburb is designed? How can a community fit into the existing ecosystem/environment?
    Archon: I would suggest police that reduce the population growth rate, and also enforce good transportation. By reducing the population growth rate, it give me more time to react, and thus a better plan. And transportation enable people to move around the city, so that they will relocate themselves if need. But if the transportation system does not allow people to do so, it is more likely for them to crowding together. 





1:00-1:10 - Creating Smart Citizens (mini-presentation)


1:10-1:30 - Class discussion of homework & readings


1:30-2:00 - Mapping activity: Designing a smart city
   Links to Prezis:
2:00-2:45 - Denise Pinto Presentation & Discussion


2:45-3:00 - Break / Design Carousel (for mapping activity)


3:00-3:20 - Design revisions


3:20-4:00 - Present smart city designs


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