Summer school: Smart Cities

Smart Cities is a rapidly growing concept in both research and policy practice. It is viewed as a solution for cities to better cope with key societal challenges like energy transition, mobility and social innovation through extensive and effective use of big data and IT.

This, in turn, calls for new modes of – smart – governance, with the active involvement of a wide diversity of public, private and citizens’ organizations. In this Summer course, Smart Cities is being studied through three themes. First, we focus on Resources and Infrastructure (water, energy and mobility). Second, we focus the Digital City (Big and open data, geo informatics). And third, we analyze Social Innovation (new modes of governance and behavioral change).

What is the city but the people?William Shakespeare

Energy, environment, agriculture and transportation are all aspects of resources and infrastructure when one is considering Smart Cities, but these aspects are only the literal interpretation of the subject. One should also consider legislation, regulations and policies to be part of the municipal infrastructure and can even be seen as resources (grants for example). The latter is treated during the “Social Innovation” part, although one should not forget that governance is also part of the infrastructure. The course will therefore focus on the next three intertwined themes.


Resources and Infrastructure

In this theme we consider the more literal meaning of infrastructure and focus mainly on the subjects of water and smart grids. Water and electricity, of course being both resources, are treated as infrastructure for the smart city. How does the urbanization impact the hydrological cycle? And what is the best water strategy for a smart city?

As the Dutch are known for their expertise in water management, examples from Holland are being treated and innovative ways of living with water are discussed. Secondly we are going to look at the rising need for (more) energy and all of the problems that emerge due to this. How should we upgrade our current energy infrastructure to keep up with the rising demand for energy? And what new ways are there to explore in the energy sector?


Urban metabolism in Resilient Cities
Dr. Kris Lulofs & Ewert Aukes MSc.

Cities have grown to previously unimaginable size and continuously do so. As population pressure on urban areas increases, so does the pressure on water resources. One way of dealing with the anthropogenic problems associated with urbanisation is reformulating the design principles with which we approach infrastructural and landscape projects. Those principles should focus upon smarter utilisation of water, use of (eco-) system knowledge and multifunctional and resilient infrastructure. Thus, these design principles contribute to a smarter utilisation of water resources in cities. We will explore urban problem characteristics, infrastructure design approaches and management and governance aspects.


Future Energy: Smart Grids
Dr. Ir Vincent Bakker & Dr. Ir. Albert Molderink

Smart Grids - flexible and intelligent energy networks (e.g. electricity) are becoming much more realistic. One of its characteristics is that production, transportation, storage and consumption are continually being observed and coordinated. This requires new operating systems, both in the electricity system at large and user levels at home. While most renewable production is not flexible in their power supplies, at home the use of home automation is widely merging releasing potential for flexibility at the consumer side. This lecture offers a general introduction to future energy systems and the accompanying challenges. Students are also invited to practice with smart grid technology.


Smart Ways to Make Smart Cities Smarter
Prof. Dr. André Dorée

Life in the city depends on the proper functioning of vital infrastructures as water mains, energy systems, sewage disposal systems, road, rail and telecom networks. As cities develop these infrastructures need to be maintained and upgraded without disrupting the vital functions and city living. Future's cities need streamlined, non-invasive city engineering processes. This module addresses the challenges and the opportunities to deploy available and emerging technologies to make these infrastructure transitions as smooth and painless as possible.

Digital City

Living in the 21st century, one cannot escape the fact that information is everywhere. We can gain information from mobile phones, sensors, camera’s, you name it. But what can we do with all the available information?

All these big pieces of data, “big data”, can be combined to determine optimal strategies, for infrastructure for example, but can also increase the comfort of living in a smart city by using this data to help the inhabitants. Data can be analyzed to prevent catastrophes to happen, for example blackouts but also poses a big cybersecurity issue. Using big data and geo-processing, one can improve the lifestyle in a smart city. How does one go about this?


These are a few example sessions:

Sensing Smart Cities
Prof.dr. Paul Havinga & dr. Nirvana Meratnia

Information can be gathered from everywhere, for instance from your cellphone, car or even your watch/bracelet. There are also countless ways to use the information gathered from all sorts of sensors depending on the application. During the Summer School participants will be busy with collecting their own data and using this data to draw conclusions about their activity. What can you deduce from your behavior? And how does this compare to others?

Geo-Processing and Analytics for Smart Cities
Manuel Garcia Alvarez MSc.

Smart Cities are bound up with geo-processing and analytics. Focussing on Smart City cases in Netherlands and Spain we highlight the role of geographic information as a proxy to understand urban dynamics, and the relevance of CEP to boost spatial-temporal analytics and decision making. It presents the opportunity to experiment with sensor data from Eindhoven and Santander, and the challenges for creating smart and innovative applications.

Social Innovation

One cannot create a smart city with only the technological aspect, (smart) governance is also of great importance. Governance can not only encourage residents, but also companies to contribute to a smarter way of living. Rules can hence help people flourish and are there to both protect and facilitate. So finding a good balance between government & society and opportunity & risk is important to get the best out of our society.

The complexity of engineering, investment and cooperation is remarkable and an amazing achievement of mankind.Prof. Dr. André Dorée

This form of “smart governance” is not as easily realized and a lot of facts need to be taken into account. Also too much meddling can backfire and is of course not wanted. How do we create “smart rules” for Smart Cities?


These are a few example sessions:

Smart City as Interprofessional Challenge
Dr. Mark van Vuuren

The complex urban innovation of a Smart City can only be achieved by collaboration between a broad range of professionals. Each profession has its unique set of knowledge, skills, language, pride, identity and culture. The clash between those assumptions make interprofessional teamwork a challenge. How to avoid the traps that appear? Do we want to play it safe (e.g. through compartmentalizing tasks and reduce the contact between professions), or do we dare to face the real challenge of collaboration, opening up the possibility for real innovative discoveries? There is a lot to gain – and lose!- in the making of this choice.  

Smart Rules for Smart Cities
Prof . Dr. Michiel Heldeweg

Law is about the liberty and ability space to make people flourish. Smart legal rules can assist in making (people in) cities flourish in becoming and staying smart. Creating proper conditions to seek innovative opportunities that technology and governance can bring to urban societies. How can citizens, societal organizations, business organizations and (semi-) governments be allowed and enabled to act as 'innovative entrepreneurs' – separately, but also co-operatively? What shifts in legal power are necessary and what forms of self-organization are smart? This lecture focuses on smart examples, legal experimentation and design, especially as regards the legal challenge of smart sustainable cities.

Governing Smart Cities
Dr. Pieter-Jan Klok

Smart Cities are in need of smart governance. We will explore the different aspects of governing in a smart way: smart monitoring of characteristics of the city and its inhabitants, deciding in a smart way on how to react to the dynamic characteristics that become known as a result and smart interventions that change situations in a precise and efficient way. We will also explore the different roles of both public organisations and citizens in governance processes. These can range from ‘very active’ to ‘as little as possible’: the self-sustaining system as ultimate form of smart governance.

Course aim

  • Learn all about the aspects of Smart Cities, ranging from governing a smart city to constructing the physical infrastructure of a smart city
  • Applying your knowledge from both technical and governance aspects to smart city development in small projects
  • Work in multidisciplinary teams
  • Learn how you can contribute to smart city development

Course overview

  • Methods: Lectures, interactive workshops
  • Course level: Advanced BSC., MSc.
  • Target group: Students in their third Bachelor’s year, entry level Master’s students and professionals with an interest in smart cities.
  • Course leader: Dr Maya van den Berg
  • Credits: 2 ECTS for successfully completing the summer school