Smart Cities


Silvia Siri

University of Genova

Welcome to the IEEE Smart Cities Technical Committee of the IEEE Control Systems Society

Addressing our pressing challenges related to improving the quality of life of people who live in cities, we must make fundamental transformations in how we design and operate cities. A smart city (Figure 1) encompasses the interactions of three heterogeneous dimensions: (1) the technological dimension that includes technologies in conjunction with Big Data that can improve the efficiency of a city, (2) the social dimension that addresses the societal impact and implications of these technologies and infrastructure to residents, visitors, and travelers of a city, and (3) the institutional dimension that includes the behavior of organized units such as administrators that govern these technologies through policies. The constellation of these dimensions constitutes a sociotechnical system that should be analyzed holistically. Yet current methods analyze, design, and optimize cities with each of these components in isolation, resulting in a lack of understanding of their interdependence and suboptimal outcomes. 

The focus of the IEEE Technical Committee (TC) on Smart Cities (TC-SC) is to promote research and education on system-based approaches aimed at addressing challenges of smart cities at the intersection of technological, social, and institutional dimensions. The activities of TC-SC head towards promoting new knowledge and applying it through collaborative praxis with stakeholders to educate and build civic capacity toward smart cities. The applications span several areas including:

(1) Infrastructure: given that the majority of the population lives in old, well-developed, and dense cities, the emphasis is on re-purposing, optimization, and better control of existing infrastructure driven by the ability to be both proactive/preventative and reactive in real-time.

Figure 1
Figure 1

(2) Data collection: the availability of data motivates data-driven approaches for resource allocation at all levels of the infrastructure in a smart city, and thus research focuses on developing data-driven resource allocation mechanisms.

Figure 2
Figure 2

(3) Mobility systems: emerging mobility systems (Figure 2), e.g., connected and automated vehicles (CAVs), shared mobility, mobility-on-demand systems, are typical cyber-physical systems (CPS) where the cyber component (e.g., data and shared information through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication) can aim at optimally controlling the physical entities (e.g., CAVs, non-CAVs) to make better operating decisions to improve safety and reduce pollution, energy consumption, and travel delays.

(4) Sustainability: with the resurgence of urbanization, the sustainability of existing infrastructures is challenged by the expected electric energy consumption growth driven by electric vehicles and the rapidly increasing integration of distributed energy resources along with a dwindling water supply. There are currently several research efforts towards enhancing the sustainability of energy and water service infrastructures through CPS science-based research and implementation in cities.  

(5) Social factors: current research focuses on understanding human emotional responses that can aim at predicting their behavior, and on economic mechanisms needed to provide incentives for the use of new technologies, e.g., game-theoretic settings (user-centric v. system-centric), congestion pricing, etc, while the availability of data enables many real-time adjustments through learning.

TC-SC is dedicated to providing informational forums, meetings for technical discussions, and information to researchers interested in smart cities. Over the years, several technical activities have been put forward during the TC meetings, such as the organization of workshops, invited sessions, summer schools, and special issues. The TC has been actively seeking opportunities to provide educational programs for early career researchers and engineers.

Joining the IEEE Technical Committee on Smart Cities

TC-SC welcomes new members, especially, early career researchers and engineers. If you are interested in joining the TC, please send an e-mail to [email protected]. We will process your request and add you to the TC e-mail list.