söndag 28 januari 2018

Cities4Good (application)

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I'm part of a group (led by the University of Deusto in Spain) that handed in a EU application last week, "Cities4Good: Coping with Societal Challenges through Smart Cities". I'm the lead/contact person for KTH but have worked together with my colleagues Mattias Höjer and Elina Eriksson on this application.

The application is a "Marie Curie Innovative Training Networks" application and it's the third time I'm part of such an application. One year ago I participated in the application "Smart home technology for sustainable practices" and three years ago I participated in the application "Energy-aware cloud-based software engineering" but I have nothing to show for it this far.

If granted, the project will get money to hire 15 ph.d. students for three years at six universities and four research institutes/research-oriented organisations in nine different countries:

- DeustoTech/University of Desuto in Bilbao, Spain (FD)
- University of Twente, Netherlands (UT)
- DeMontford University, United Kingdom (DMU)
- Ghent University, Belgium (UGent)
- Saxion University, Netherlands (SUAS)
- KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden (KTH)
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- DunavNET, Serbia (an innovation and technology SME working with IoT solutions for smart cities) (DNET)
- BENG, Italy (an R&D SME working with Business Process Management) (BENG)
- Pro Future, Austria (a  research company working with "cognitive products") (P2F)
- Institut Mines Telecom, France (a public R&D institution working with engineering and digital technologies) (IMT)

There are also another dozen of partner organizations including Swedish White Arkitekter (we recruited them).

The short version of what this application is about is: "Cities4Good will make a critical contribution to the next generation of Smart Cities by interlinking disciplines from sensor technology and integration, behaviour modelling, human-machine interaction, user experience and user acceptance while keeping citizens’ well-being, needs, and interests as its main focus."

That high-level goal is broken down into four scientific objectives (SO1-SO4) and four application areas (APP1-APP4) which form a grid:


Since the information is there for the taking (in the application), I have published the description of (the KTH-relevant) APP2, SO3 and SO4 at the very bottom of this document.

The whole point of these Marie Curie applications is to fund 15 ph.d. students and send them around Europe on network meetings and on "secondments" (visits to other network members). The KTH ph.d. student (should we get one) would have me as the main advisor and Mattias Höjer and Elina Eriksson as co-advisors) but he/she would also visit three other project/network partners during his/her time as a ph.d. student; Pro Future (working on more technical aspects within the Sustainability & Energy application area), DeustoTech/University of Desuto (who is coordinating the application and is all over it) and Saxion University (also working on "User acceptance & Adherence" but within the application area "Citizen inclusion in decision-making processes").

It is also interesting to note that no less than six of the 14 non-KTH ph.d. students want to come and visit KTH on their secondments. These students would come to KTH one and a half, two and three years into the project (the ph.d. students would be recruited after the project starts and would start their ph.d. studies nine months into the project). These are more specifically the project of those six incoming ph.d. students:

From DeustoTech/Univeristy of Deusto:  "Adversarial citizen information retrieval in social networks".
From Saxion University: "Implementation of sensor technologies in urban areas in Europe".
From DunavNET: "Digitization in public sector using Blockchain and IoT technologies".
From Saxion University: "Adoption and acceptance of intelligent technologies in the public area".
From Institut Mines Telecom: "Demonstrate Urban Assisted Living (UAL) paradigm".
From DeMontford University: "Mobile crowd photographing technologies for real-time dynamic decision-making".


Here's the task/work description of the KTH ph.d. studen we would want to recruit should we get this funding:

"Reducing and replacing energy intensive practices in the smart sustainable city"

Objectives: Many visions of future smart cities focus exclusively on a range of technologies and their potential to reshape urban life so as to attain desired goals. One urgent goal is to make European cities more sustainable and energy efficient as well as “smarter”. This individual research project will instead focus on the interplay between technologies and citizens’ daily practices as key for working towards increased user acceptance and adherence of such goals. We are in particular interested in how digitization can be used as a means and we more specifically ask how digitization can support a transition to low-energy smart sustainable cities by supporting citizens’ evolving low-energy social practices. 

This project will focus on studying, understanding, leveraging and supporting the evolution of existing and potential low-energy practices through digitization. These practices could be the result of conscious choices by “forerunners”, environmentally conscious citizens who voluntarily curtail their energy use, but, they could also result from a lack of (various) resources (for example financial resources). Hence this project will take a co-creation and co-design approach to making future smart cities better equipped to address the needs of their citizens. With a design thinking approach and using user-centred methodologies (taking a lead from Human-Computer Interaction) such as design probes and triggering material, the project will address opportunities and barriers for changing energy intensive practices. 

It might also turn out to be interesting to compare and contrast attempts to affect citizens’ behavior through designing appropriate technologies with the alternative of implementing suitable (top- down) policies, something legal scholar Lawrence Lessig did (1999) when he contrasted computer code with legal code. Both methods (technology, regulation) can make some things easier and other things harder, make some things possible that were previously impossible or make some things impossible that were previously possible.

Expected Results

- D1: Study of low-energy practices among “forerunners” and others
- D2: Study of the role of digitalization for curtailing high-energy practices
- D3: Comparison of regulation through technology vs regulation through policies
- D4: Co-creating design concepts for citizen-supported low-energy practices


Here are the publications (≈ three per person) that me, Mattias and Elina provided as a way to position ourselves in relation to this research grant application and to our specific angle in the intersection of APP2 and SO3/SO4.

- Börjesson Rivera, M., Henriksson, G., Höjer, M. & Eriksson, E., Exploring environmentally sustainable sharing - An outline for an assessment framework". Under review.

- Börjesson Rivera M., E. Eriksson och J. Wangel, ICT practices in smart sustainable cities: In the intersection of technological solutions and practices of everyday life, in Proceedings of EnviroInfo and ICT for Sustainability 2015 : Building the knowledge base for environmental action and sustainability, 2015, s.317-324

- Bradley, K. & Pargman, D. (2017). The sharing economy as the commons of the 21st century. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, special issue on Sharing Economies? Theories, Practices and Impacts. Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 231–247.  

- Höjer, M. & Wangel, J. (2015). Smart sustainable cities – definition and challenges. In Hilty, L.and Aebischer, B. (Eds) ICT Innovations for Sustainability, Springer Series Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing, Dordrecht, Springer.

- Ilstedt, S., Hesselgren, M., & Eriksson, E. (2017). Sustainable Lifestyles – How Values Affect Sustainable Practices. In Proceedings of Nordes 2017.

- Kramers, A., Höjer, M., Lövehagen, N., & Wangel, J. (2014). Smart sustainable cities: Exploring ICT solutions for reduced energy use in cities, Environmental Modelling & Software, ISSN: 1364-8152  

- Pargman, D., Ringenson, T., Börjesson Rivera, M., Schmitz, L., Krinaki, M., Prekratic, N. & Lundkvist, B. (in press). Smart Magic City Run: Exploring the Implications of Public Augmented Reality Games. Proceedings of 9th International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment (INTETAIN 2017). Springer.  

- Pargman, D., Eriksson, E., Höjer, M., Gunnarsson Östling, U., & Aguiar Borges, L. (2017). The (Un)sustainability of Imagined Future Information Societies. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 773-785). ACM.

- Penzenstadler, B., Tomlinson, B., Baumer, E., Pufal, M., Raturi, A., Richardson, D., Cakici, B., Chitchyan, R., Da Costa, B., Dombrowski, L., Picha Edwardsson, M., Eriksson, E., Franch, X., Hayes, G.R., Herzog, C., Lohmann, W., Mahaux, M., Mavin, A., Mazmanian, M., Nayebaziz, S., Norton, J., Pargman, D., Patterson, D.J., Pierson, J, Roher, K., Silberman, M.S., Simonson, K., Torrance, A.W., & van der Hoek, A. (2014). ICT4S 2029: What will be the systems supporting sustainability in 15 years. In Proceedings of the 2014 international conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S). Atlantis Press.


APP2: Sustainability & Energy
Large cities and megalopolis are witnessing a dramatic increase of CO2 emissions mainly due to unsustainable mobility (e.g. one person per car, overuse of private transportation for short journeys, etc.). Some municipalities around the globe are introducing contingency measures such as eco-taxes, reducing the number of cars in circulation by applying road space rationing and incentivizing the use of public transport via subsidies. One of the main open questions that we want to address is the role of Smart (Persuasive) Cities in the sustainability equation: Cities4Good envisages that it is possible to offset the carbon used for creating such technological equipment by changing the way citizens behave in their cities and, even, to transform entire cities into greener environments able to cooperate with their inhabitants through persuasive techniques and social influence.


SO3: Citizen Interaction with the City
Cities4Good will develop, implement and evaluate novel interaction methods between the citizens and their city. These methods will aim to encourage urban interaction, facilitating both the relations with the city administration and its servants and between the citizens themselves. The envisioned interaction methods will empower citizens to use co-creation approaches for city planning, to better focus on their needs. They will also make use of persuasive computing to help the citizens to improve their daily living. 


SO4: User Acceptance & Adherence
While SO1, SO2 and SO3 are centred on developing new and innovative technologies, SO4 will study how these new technologies are adopted by the citizens. Specifically, Cities4Good will 1) study non-technical factors concerning the implementation of sensor technologies in urban places with regard to ‘human-in- the-loop sensing’ and non-human input; 2) study mechanisms and exogenous factors of policy diffusion, such as how resources, motivations and opinion leadership may enable information to flow between stakeholders and lead to faster adoption; and 3) increase the knowledge with regard to the needs and expectations of specific (sub)groups regarding intelligent technologies in public spaces in order to anticipate technology acceptance in peoples’ daily public life.

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