Smart city

Smart cities

Sensors installed the built environment provide smart cities with knowledge on how users’ experience and interact with the city. This can be used for managing traffic flows, optimizing the use of utility networks, identifying high risk crime areas, engaging users in city governance etc.

The term “smart city” is often used to describe urban areas that use internet of things (IoT) sensors and other information technologies to:

  • Manage physical assets and optimize their use
  • Interact with the community and engage users in governing the city
  • Learn how the city evolves over time

Data is collected from sensors placed in and around the built environment. This data is processed and analysed for different purposes, such as managing traffic flows, optimizing the use of utility networks, identifying high risk crime areas, detecting maintenance needs etc.

Benefits and challenges

  • Improving the utilization of the built environment, and possibly reducing energy consumption as e.g. congestion data is collected and analysed
  • Improving the users’ experience of city areas and infrastructure, because city planners can use behavioral data as the point of departure for design and redesign of the built environment.
  • Engaging end users in city governance, e.g. through smart city solutions that allows the users to report maintenance needs in the city.
  • To connect data from multiple sources, many smart cities has an open data platform. This data platform needs to be resilient to threats of cyber-terror, and furthermore protect the privacy rights of individuals.

Application examples

In Singapore, a research project called LIVE Singapore! has collected data on e.g. transportation patterns, temperature and energy consumption. This data is made available on an open data platform for application developers to use. The data can e.g. be used to map transportation patterns and taxi usage on days with special events, hereby allowing the citizens to ease their way around in the city ( 

In Copenhagen, the data consultant Backscatter has analysed a number of anonymised emails from citizens to the city government. The data is aggregated to understand how the citizens feel about their city, what their concerns are, and how this varies with the seasons ( 

Development stage

An increasing number of cities apply smart city technologies, including Barcelona, Amsterdam, Dubai, New York and Stockholm. Smart cities are “on the market” world-wide.

Construction impact

Smart cities will affect the design phase of construction project, as data from the built environment can be used to inform the (re)design. Moreover, smart cities will optimise the utilisation of the built environment, hereby affecting the operation phase.

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24 JULI 2024