‘Smart cities’ is an umbrella theme for a variety of topics. It concerns the use of ICT to improve urban living, including reducing energy consumption and facilitating environmentally friendly transport. This thesis topic is suitable for students interested in the development of ‘smart cities’.
The cities we live in are increasingly becoming “smarter”, in the sense of equipped with devices that count and measure a wide range of elements, from air pollution to the number of bicycles that pass in a street. Such information can be used by government employees to plan interventions and motivate citizens to take certain choices. It can also be used by citizens to plan their everyday life. “Smart technology” can also enable things to “talk” to us. Garbage bins can be equipped with sensors that enable them to tell when they need to emptied. Hidden infrastructures like sewage systems can send signals about their need of maintenance before they break down. “Smart electricity grids” not only transmit electricity, but harvest and transmit data about electricity consumption. They also open new possibilities, such as the introduction of solar electricity production at household level and large-scale charging of electric vehicles.
This thesis topic is only loosely connected to ongoing research projects at IFI, so the students choosing this topic need to be willing to work with a high degree of independence. However, on of the supervisors, Hanne Cecilie Geirbo, is working with smart cities and can suggest literature and help with making connections. Students need to define their own master project within the following broad themes:
Smart cities generate a large amount of data from a variety of sources. How can we utilize this data? How can we display such data so it makes sense to different user groups?
If technology is “smart”, how is it smart, and for whom is it smart? Do the “smart city” exclude certain user groups, and can we design alternative “smart city” solutions?
Smart cities can enable manufactured and natural things to communicate their state of being to people. Communication can be instrumental, inspiring or provocative, and it can be directed to various kinds of groups. What kind of things could it be interesting to communicate with, and how can this be done?
Recommended courses are: INF5011 (Science technology society ethics), INF5210 (Information systems), INF5722 (Experimental design) and INF5261 (Development of mobile information systems and services).