Intelligent cities

The city of the future will solve problems by collecting data in many different ways. The newly established Amsterdam Institute of Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) is focusing on this.

Within this institute, TU Delft is collaborating with Wageningen UR, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and other partners. The participating parties will be providing education to students, in addition to conducting multidisciplinary research.For example, data on flooding can be obtained not only from classic weather stations, but also from sensors on lampposts and umbrellas, as well as from data collected by citizens. Smart processing of these data will improve the ability to intervene. Many other interesting fields of research are conceivable as well. For example, waste companies are interested to know where rubbish ends up. This has already been examined in the United States, using RFID tags to trace the route ofwaste. The researcher Carlo Ratti (MIT) spoke about this recently during the opening of the AMS.

Measuring air quality and fighting traffic congestion also play a major role. ‘Big data are extremely important for all of thesetopics. We are collecting a large amount of data in order to conduct research, to map the city and to demonstrate the effects’, explains Paul Althuis, a member of the AMS board and director of the TU Delft Valorisation Centre.Beginning in 2017, the AMS will also be offering educational programmes. ‘At that time, we will be launching an independent Master’s degree programme in Amsterdam’, notes Althuis. ‘We would like to attract both Dutch and international students. After they take their degrees, we hope that they will stay in the Dutch capital and start their own companies based on innovations for intelligent cities. This would generate interesting applications’.

According to Althuis, Amsterdam is an excellent location in which to look for potential to deploy big data in initiatives related to intelligent cities. The city is large enough to collect a great deal of data and small enough to remain manageable. The study in Amsterdam is intended as a springboard. ‘Things that work here could be applied in larger cities, like Rio de Janeiro or Shanghai’. The AMS was established with an investment from the City of Amsterdam. In the coming decade, the city will be investing € 50 million. Althuis: ‘The universities of Wageningen and Delft have signed a contract pledge to raise € 200 million in public and private investments. We are working closely with various companies, including Shell, KPN and IBM’.

Amsterdam is large enough to collect a great deal of data and small enough to remain manageable.

Photo © Sam Rentmeester.

Photo © Sam Rentmeester.

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