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Links for 2016

2015 Smart Cities Team:

Robin M, Stef B, Sarah Z, Mari R, Alisa A


  • What are Smart Cities?
  • —Transportation (public, private, “smart”)
    —Smart buildings
    —Waste removal, Recycling
    —Neighborhoods – restaurants, night clubs
    —Public spaces
    —Art, Advertisements
    —Energy Usage
    —Decision Support/voting, Usage tracking

Class Activities

Course Intro (January 15, 2015)

  • Please click on this link, have a look at the Google Doc, which has a table of relevant video examples.
  • Add your comments in the far right of the table, and add any other examples if you like.  
  • Smart Cities Click Here

The Plan:

Week 1 Homework/Wiki Page (February 5, 2015)

Week 1:

1. Intro to Smart Cities

  • The Rise & Growth of Cities (Mari)

  • Disney-fication of cities (Robin)

2. Take up homework (Stef)

3. Your experience with different cities (Sarah)

4. -- Break --

5. Mapping Activity (Part 1 - Chart Paper) (Alisa)

6. Reflection/Discussion: Smart Citizenship (Robin) (ran out of time - moved to next week)

7. Jim design time (30 mins)


Week 2 Homework/Wiki Page (February 12, 2015)

Week 2:

1. Discussion: Smart Citizenship (Robin)

2. Take up homework (Stef)

3. Denise Pinto Guest Lecture

4. -- Break --

5. Mapping Activity (Part 2 - Prezi) (Alisa)

6. Map presentations


Videos of Week 2:

Just a head's up: the following videos are password protected. Please contact Jim Slotta regarding video access.


Part 1 - Class Discussion: "Smart Citizenship" 
Highlights (8:44) 
Full version (21:43)  

Part 2 - Review of Readings & Homework
Highlights (3:59)  
Full version (10:12)  

Part 3 - Guest Speaker Denise Pinto
Highlights (2:43)  
Full version (47:49)  

Part 4 - Designing Smart Cities: Collaborative Mapping Activity
Highlights (5:14)  
Full version (10:59)  

 Part 5 - Smart Cities Design Presentations
Highlights (4:34)  
Full version (14:03)  

Prezis (Maps):

Thoughts on the week:

Why smart cities?

Stef: Cities are vibrant places where creative people come together to share their ideas. They are also where most of the world’s population is living. They are often chaotic places that are in constant need of solutions. We thought that this assignment was an ideal way of exploring some city-related issues in creative ways.


Sarah: I really like this topic. It makes people aware of their environment and cities they are living in. However, I feel this topic is a bit broad. It is like talking about urban plannings which is very difficult to narrow down and provide solid information. I suppose in the future there could be a more concrete topic that is similar to smart cities but more specific so that students feel a direct impact of what it have on their lives.

Robin: I agree with Sara!

Thoughts on the planning/organization:

Stef: The timing could’ve been better - we didn’t have enough time to let certain activities play out until the end.

Alisa:  I agree that timing was our biggest issue.  It’s hard to predict how engaging a particular conversation topic/discussion might become… We would have had the opposite problem (too much extra time) if the students in our class were quiet or not engaged.

Sarah: I really like our “design” idea of building up an imaginary city and asked students to add their “expertise” to it. It went very well and students enjoyed it a lot. I feel this could be a longer activity, or itself can be a theme. This activity allows students to learn from smart cities and design a city themselves. They don’t need to be in groups, instead they can have their own city since the first week and as the discussion continues, they can keep implement new ideas and thoughts and improve their city design. My observation is that since each student has his or her own ideas, many group work mainly depend on one person. If each one of them can have their own “city”, they may be more positive, and as a continuous process, they can learn deeper on this topic.


Thoughts on the execution? How did the day go? What could we have done, what worked well and what could we have not done?

Stef: We didn’t get through all the discussion questions because questions resulted in great conversation. Perhaps the second articles we chose could’ve been more interesting/shorter/more attractive because very few people seemed to have actually read them. The mapping activity worked well but it would’ve been nice if we would’ve had more time at the end. Essentially timing was our biggest issue - maybe it would’ve been nice to have fewer activities and been able to explore them deeper.

Sarah: I am positive on the execution. I feel we have done a great job organizing our “classes”, as well as managing the discussions. Although timing is not as what we planned, one can never absolutely control what is going on. As long as we delivered what we expected for the theme, I think we have done a great job. I also notice that people get more excited and involved when talking about their own experience with cities and problems they discovered when exploring these cities. It would be great, in the future to encourage them to study deeper on those problems they found and propose some solutions for these problems.

Robin: I really enjoyed seeing people get involved making the maps for their cities. Some groups decided to have fun and make a horrific city with terrible management, while others used what they had learned in our presentations and tried to formulate a successful city planning model. It was a great way to have people use the concepts. And Alissa’s map designs were fantastic! Timing was our biggest barrier. It was hard to get everybody up to speed on the concepts and then discuss how they related to other topics and examples. But if we had made it more concise and focussed on a particular branch of smart cities, it might have given us more discussion. But it was still pretty good. I also really enjoyed the guest speaker from Jane’s Walk - she helped contextualize a lot of the Smart Planning and Citizen Activism themes in our week. I would include her again for the next year.


Recommendations for next year? What else would we have covered? Where could this topic go in terms of focus for next year?

Maybe students could focus on a particular city? Maybe they could make up a city with different “issues” and have the class work on solving them? I remember students enjoying talking about cities they had visited so maybe exploiting that further?

(Sarah: I like these ideas!)

Robin: Focussing on particular cities, or a particular kind of smart city (historical or super hyper future oriented) might be beneficial. I would use another guest speaker to break up the talk time from us, or organize the weeks to be more diverse in how learners get at the concepts and information.


  Previous Pedagogical Approaches



Montgomery, C. (2013). Happy city: Transforming our lives through urban design. (Ch. 2)

Townsend, A. M. (2013). Smart cities: big data, civic hackers, and the quest for a new utopia. (Intro)

Kostakos, Ojala, & Juntunen, 2013

 IBM Smarter Buildings

Kansari, Motashari, & Mansouri, 2014

Chowdhury & Chowdhury, 2007

 IBM, 2014

Videos: (smart cars, transportation)

Other Resources:



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