Research Line of Smart Cities

Smart Urban Space: Healthy Environments

Making place for health-promoting, sustainable urban areas

The public domain of the city supplies a high number and quality of public services and facilities in a comfortable, attractive and unique setting, and as such is a crucial asset to both the quality of life and the quality of place for its citizens. However, the global trend of urbanization puts the available space under great pressure. The Smart Urban Space theme develops a holistic, inclusive and smart way to give the public space back to the people for hiking, cycling and recreation.

Scientific challenges

The challenges addressed in this theme are complex and extensive: Can we assess and model the impact of technology on urban planning to enable scenario studies? How can we embed technological innovations such as sensor networks, big data, mobile devices and apps, internet and social media in the design of physical spaces, and what functionality should they enable? How can smart city technologies contribute to solving pressing societal urban agenda’s? Think for example of redesigning often obsolete recreational peoples parks to promote physical activity and counter the 21st epidemics of wealth: obesity, burn-outs and dementia.

Eindhoven expertise

To complete the scientific cycle of observation, hypothesis, experiment, analysis and conclusion in the field of urban spaces, it is crucial to have access to a city or a campus that can act as a living lab. Both the Municipality of Eindhoven and the TU/e campus enable integrated studies of space, systems and governance.

The department of the Built Environment has ample expertise in assessing how dimensions of urban morphology, townscape, and programming shape and reshape each other reciprocally. The universities’ well-established strategic area Smart Mobility combines all expertise available about transformations in mobility and their effect on the urban environment. Technology to clean air and water is developed at the departments of Applied Physics, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering and Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. The department of Mathematics and Computer Science together with the Data Science Centrum Eindhoven harbor the necessary knowledge about the processing, encryption and visualization of data. The departments of Industrial Design and Industrial Engineering & Innovation Ecosystems enable the translation of technology into attractive, user-friendly and economically viable solutions. expertise on new urban lighting and experiments with the possibilities of the new technology and their effect on people and behavior.

In Eindhoven, we study urban trends, needs and demands of the urban infrastructure from a use and user perspective. On the use side, the research focusses on how people use, experience and value the public domain being the integral sum of public infrastructure systems, public facilities and public space networks such as  streets, squares and parks. 

Thought leader Pieter van Wesemael

Project Smart Cycling Futures

Cycling booms in many Dutch cities. While smart cycling innovations promise to increase cycling’s modal share in the (peri-)urban transport system even further, little is understood of their impact or cost and benefit. The Smart Cycling Futures program investigates how smart cycling innovations including ICT-enabled cycling innovations, infrastructures, and social innovations like new business models, contribute to more resilient and livable Dutch urban regions. 

Cycling innovations benefit urban regions in terms of accessibility, equality, health, livability, and decreasing CO2-emissions. To facilitate a transition to a sustainable future that responds to pressing issues, the SCF research project runs urban living labs in close collaboration with key stakeholders to develop transdisciplinary insights in the conditions needed for upscaling smart-cycling initiatives. 

The research program brings together four Dutch regions through academic institutions,  governmental authorities on an urban and regional level, and market players. Together, they answer practice-based questions in a transdisciplinary and problem-oriented fashion. In Eindhoven, one PhD tries to answer the question how urban design can contribute to a delightful biking experience. The other PhD student focuses on the role users can play in the governance system controlling bicycle infrastructure and policy.

On the user side, the main question is how to involve people, entrepreneurs, NGO’s and knowledge institutes in decisions on how to use disruptive technology in the transformation of the public domain. We are for instance interested in how intelligent lighting can improve feelings of safety and comfort in Stratumseind.

Progam manager Oana Druta

Vitality of office workers

Integrate daily exercise in your work

Prolonged sitting time in adults has become a major societal issue with far-reaching health, economic, and social consequences. This joint project of the TU/e departments of Industrial Design and of Built Environment is aimed at reducing sedentary behavior in office workers by integrating physical activity with work. 

A first case study has resulted in Workwalk, a concept to encourage and facilitate office workers to have a walking meeting. A roughly two-kilometer-long blue line is rolled out across the TU/e campus site. The entire route takes some twenty-five minutes walking time. Along the route, the environment provides the walkers with a number of natural visual clues as to how much distance and thus meeting time is left.

A meeting or consultation can start at one of the meeting points located at the various TU/e buildings; from there participants just follow the blue line.