AMS From Needs to Knowledge

challenges and opportunities for city-scale crowd sensing in intelligent cities

Citizens are key actors in intelligent cities. They are the lifeblood of the city ecosystem, and they have a privileged viewpoint over the status of the city. The term smart citizen (or smart community) characterizes users of a city that, through social media and decentralized, open urban infrastructures, take an active role in the sensing, organization, and response to long-standing or emerging urban issues. Despite the success of many initiatives, like the Amsterdam Smart Citizen Lab, experience shows that there are several pressing, open issues that hamper the large-scale and sustainable transformation of citizens into smart citizens. The main objective of this project is the identification of the key societal, technical, and scientific challenges that need to be overcome in order to transform the Smart Citizen vision into a solid reality. The project will identify and involve relevant stakeholders, to elicit their requirements, survey their information needs, and discern the main causes of frictions.

Citizens are key actors in intelligent cities. They are the lifeblood of the city ecosystem. They live the urban environment, and contribute to its existence and development. They produce and consume resources and services, build and break relationships, and foster their well-being in the pursuit of a better quality of life. Being at center stage, citizens also have a privileged viewpoint over the status of the city. They are the most accurate sensory receptors of the city’s nervous system. They are a core part of the urban fabric; as such, they can observe and feel changes (both positive and negative) that affect their well-being and quality of life, and promptly react to unsustainable variations. These changes might be of environmental, public safety, infrastructural, or personal nature. For instance, citizens might sense problems related with the air or water quality, or with the noise pollution; they might be eye-witness of criminal activities; or have first-hand issues with roads, traffic, or problems with other public properties (e.g. parks). This dual nature of citizens has been widely recognized as the key argument to recognize the central place of citizens in smart cities debate. The term smart citizen (or smart community) characterizes users of a city that, through social media and decentralized, open urban infrastructures, take an active role in the sensing, organization, and response to long-standing or emerging urban issues. Advances in Web-based communication (e.g. social media, social deliberation platforms) and physical sensing technologies (e.g. arduino-like sensors) allow smart citizens to engage in information gathering and decision making in the city; at the same time administrators and policy makers can use the same technologies to enable and foster positive behavior change.

The main objective of this project is the identification of the key societal, technical, and scientific challenges that need to be overcome in order to transform the Smart Citizen vision into a solid reality. The project will survey the state-of-the-art and the state-of-the-practice in city-scale crowd sensing initiatives, technical infrastructures, and scientific solutions. The project leaders are experts in disciplines that are fundamental to the Smart Citizen discourse. The City of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Smart Citizen Lab, and AMS Institute  will serve as an exemplary case studies. The project will produce a white paper, targeted to citizens and policy makers, that will focus on the open problems, and aims at serving as roadmap for ongoing and future Smart Citizens initiatives.

Project duration
May 2015 – December 2015

Partners
Delft University of Technology, Alterra, Wageningen UR, Waag Society

Contact person(s)
Dr. Alessandro Bozzon, Delft University of Technology. Phone: +31 15 2786346. Website

Related information
Amsterdam Smart Citizen Lab

This project is an AMS Stimulus Project. The aim of Stimulus Projects is to give to new and existing AMS partners support to innovative research that has a strong upscaling potential. The projects should realize short-term research output, which act as a catalyst of a new solution direction, concept or approach.

Project Final Reporting – From needs to knowledge (pdf)