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Smart cities
Smart cities

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Week 1: Introduction to smart cities


Welcome to Week 1 of this free badged open course, Smart cities.

‘Smart cities’ is a term used to describe the use of smart technologies and data as the means to solve cities’ sustainability challenges. Many cities are in the process of making themselves smart, using data and technology to improve transport, energy use, health and air quality or to drive economic growth. Others are being built to be smart from the start. So this is a term that relates to the present and to the future.

Whatever your interest in smart cities, welcome to the course. In the following video you will hear from Dr Lorraine Hudson. She is a Research Fellow on smart cities who previously worked in local government managing a £3 million smart city programme. Later in the course you will also hear from Professor Gerd Kortuem, of The Open University, whose research focuses on smart cities, the internet of things and computing for sustainability.

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Thinking about smart cities
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • recognise the challenges and opportunities cities face
  • discuss smart city definitions and what they have in common
  • describe some different approaches to smart city design and delivery.

As a student of smart cities you’ll find yourself in the presence of experts from many disciplines, meeting a multiplicity of smart city projects and applying what you learn to a real project in your own city or community. To help you capture what you learn, here are a few tools:

The point of becoming a smart city is that it will increase resilience and improve the lives of citizens. So should the vision of a smart city be to implement more technology or to explore how technology might enable the city and citizens to solve the challenges they face?

Before you start, The Open University would really appreciate a few minutes of your time to tell us about yourself and your expectations of the course. Your input will help to further improve the online learning experience. If you’d like to help, and if you haven’t done so already, please fill in this optional survey.