Research Line of Smart Cities

Urban Data & Data Platforms

Combining data to manage resources

To improve our ever growing cities in terms of sustainability, mobility, waste management, resilience for natural disasters and social well-being, smart use has to be made of all of the data that is or can be collected by individual citizens and organizations across the private, public and non-profit sectors. The Urban data and data platforms theme explores how to enable cities and communities to monitor, reason and act based on trustworthy, valid and reliable data.

Scientific challenges

To enable privacy-ensuring, fast, safe and reliable solutions, many scientific questions still need to be answered. How do we align data formats of different data sources, such as in the case of smart parking, from car plate recognition, weight sensors in parking lots, light controls and personal agendas? How do we collect, store, process and maintain this data fast and efficiently? What possibilities do new types of sensors offer to citizens and society? And what type of sensors need to be developed to keep up with the demand? How do we make sure the privacy of citizens is ensured when we detect behavior like their litter habits or get access to private data such as agendas? What infrastructure do we need to enable real time communication and decision-making? 

Living Lab

The Urban data and data platforms research theme acts as a living lab, also for the other Smart City research themes, both de Vries and program manager Duyang Yang state. ‘For researchers, we can test the implications of newly developed technologies in real-life situations and bring them to higher Technology Readiness Levels. Think for example of battery less sensors that can be incorporated in the wall of a building, communication technologies based on light instead of electronics, data analysis algorithms, or applications like remote diagnosis, enriched ambient assisted living, and autonomous driving. For users such as municipalities, companies, social organizations and citizens, we act as a one-stop-shop for access to the latest technological insights and solutions.’

Available expertise

At Eindhoven University, a unique chain of expertise is available to help realize new data platform solutions. At the departments of Electrical Engineering and Applied Physics, the hardware is developed for future monitoring and high speed connectivity applications. The Data Science Center Eindhoven combines the data science oriented efforts of over thirty research groups across six involved departments, ranging from algorithms and architecture of information systems to security and signal processing and application oriented subjects like the cognitive Internet-of-Things and supply chain management. At the Department of Built Environment, ample experience has been gained with open data platforms, behavior modelling  and decision-making. And the departments of Industrial Design and Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences add knowhow about ethics, design and human-technology interaction, to increase the chance of successful implementation of proposed solutions.

Our current-day society collects data about almost any aspect of the city. Think for example of image recognition data from traffic camera’s, humidity or heat measured by weather stations, sound detection, GPS data tracking people and goods, or citizens collecting their own data about air quality to see whether or not norms are exceeded. All of the independent technologies used to collect, store and process these data work rather well. The challenge is how to connect them in real time to enable decision-making about for example energy savings, urban planning, traffic routing or waste management.

Thought leader Bauke de Vries from the Department of Built Environment.

Project UNaLab

Enhance urban climate and water resilience

Due to climate change, population growth and urbanization, cities all over the world are facing climate or water related challenges such as flooding or drought, air pollution, heat stress, and biodiversity loss. Nature-based solutions such as permeable pavements, green walls and roofs, and stormwater retention ponds increase a city’s resilience to natural disasters, and at the same time enhance the biodiversity and the social well-being of its inhabitants.
In the UNaLab project, Eindhoven University together with 27 partners from 10 cities across Europe and beyond develop smarter, more inclusive, more resilient and increasingly sustainable societies through innovative solutions that are either inspired by, supported by or copied from nature.

A myriad of data, varying from weather conditions and forecasting, measurements of concentrations of trace gases and aerosols, soil and water assessments, to regulatory frameworks, population dynamics, ethical aspects and economic data are combined and visualized. The aim is to create a widely applicable toolbox consisting of user-friendly handbooks, models and instruments to guide cities across Europe in developing and implementing their own nature-based solutions, and to monitor their effect.

The way we make sense of urban areas stands at a critical point. Urban data and information give the power to make more sustainable urban areas and a better living environment.

Program manager Dujuan Yang

Project Triangulum

Develop smart urban districts

Eindhoven University of Technology is one of the five international partners in the project Triangulum, which is aimed at developing smart urban districts. 

Two of the districts under transformation into sustainable living environments are located in Eindhoven. The former Philips industrial complex in the Strijp-S neighborhood is turned into a creative smart district. An innovative concept to clean up contaminated land is used to produce energy. On top of that, a district-wide ICT solution allows residents to develop sustainable patterns of energy and mobility behavior, for example by booking electric vehicles from a district car sharing scheme or by using smart parking concepts. 

A different set of challenges is posed by the Eckart Vaartbroek district, where energy-efficiency renovations are carried out on the social housing that predominates in this area. In order to precisely calculate energy savings and present inhabitants with different options, the project uses an ICT-based instrument capable of modelling costs and yield in a 3D visualization of the district.