Lead: Mr Poon King Wang (LKYCIC, SUTD)

How can cities become and stay smart? The Smart Cities Lab under the Chen Tianqiao Programme on Urban Innovation at the Lee Kuan Yew Centre for Innovative Cities aims to answer this question by focusing on three thrusts in education and research :

Smart People

How can smart cities develop smart people through work and education?

A city is only as smart as what its people do. They need to be smart too. Moreover, recent economic, social and political changes around the world has made one thing clear: even as we build better buildings, more intelligent transport and smarter homes, we must also innovate in the social institutions of work and education. Together, they develop the long term capabilities that will secure a smart city’s future.‌

Smart Tools

What tools do smart people need to build smart government, businesses, and communities?

A city is only as smart as what its people do with technology. It is not what technologies are, but what technologies do, and what we do with them that make them useful. Smart cities result from people transforming technologies into tools that deliver social and economic outcomes. These tools empower people, make more responsive policies, build more productive businesses, and enable more inclusive community engagement. All these can in turn ensure a society stays strong and prosperous, and not efficient but divided.‌

Smart Scaling

How can smart tools scale across a network of smart cities for greater impact?

Many smart city technology test-beds have difficulty scaling beyond the pilot phase. Cities and companies – especially small ones – also find it challenging to scale their innovations to the region and beyond. The faster and easier such tools and innovations can propagate across a network of cities, the greater their likely impact, and their potential to attract the resources needed.

1 May 2015
Chen Tianqiao

Teaching and Education

The LKYCIC leads in teaching the Smart Cities elective course in SUTD’s Master of Science in Urban Science, Policy and Planning. The curriculum outline can be found at Smart Cities: Digital Economies and Digital Societies in the 4IR.

As an example of the class ethos, the class has designed a Smart Cities Toolkit in partnership with the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development. The Smart Cities Toolkit aims to give smart city leaders in low and middle income countries an easy way to integrate four broad dimensions that are common to all smart city endeavours: Projects, People, Policies, and Pathways.

Research Projects

The above three thrusts guide the projects that will be pursued. It is envisioned that each of the projects pursued will fall into at least two of the above thrusts.

  • Smart Work and Education
    Lead: Mr Poon King Wang
    Collaborator(s): team members from Living with Technology: Future of Work, Education, and Healthcare

    This project will explore a task-based approach to work and education, with the goal of helping people thrive better even as technology disrupts economy and society. It will build on the work in the NRF/MND-funded project Future of Cities – Living with Technology: Future of Work, Education and Healthcare. The project will have two components:

    • Examining in detail the relationship between tasks, skills, work, education technologies, and their contribution to employment growth;
    • Building prototypes of tools and databases to demonstrate their efficacy to help workers and students better prepare for disruption, and to better transition if and when they are displaced.
  • Smart and Scaleable
    Dr Andy Zheng
    project-specific – see below

    This project will explore how cities and companies can scale their innovative solutions (e.g. smart tools) from pilot phase to other cities. It will build on the experiences of a small set of emerging smart tools; it will also examine emerging models in areas such as the globalisation of expertise networks, sharing economy and e-commerce.To explore the question for scale with speed, this project will convene discussions with interested entrepreneurs, scholars and policy makers, in an effort to search for answers. For the initial set of smart tools, the project has identified a few potential projects:

    • IDC project on Smart Recycling with Dr Lyle Fearnley (building on the work in the LKYCIC Future of Cities – Sustainable Futures project, and the LKYCIC Future of Cities – Living with Technology project);
    • Potential collaboration with Aspiring Citizens Cleantech, on its data exchange for mobility services;
    • Potential collaboration with a sharing economy company.
  • Community Engagement – Voices in the City
    Lead: Ms Julienne Chen

    Citizen participation
    It is increasingly acknowledged that smart cities are not only about technological solutions, but about the social processes and contexts that underpin them. In order to ‘work,’ smart cities must also incorporate participatory and inclusive practices. This research track explores different mechanisms by which residents and stakeholders can co-create the city of the future, including an exploration of how digital technologies can mediate that experience.The focus is on two areas:

    • Creating smarter mechanisms for public participation. This research track focuses on the existing landscape of how government bodies seek to engage with their constituents, and how online platforms such as social media and mobile messaging can improve the quality and accessibility of participation.
    • Self-organizing community initiatives. This research track examines how communities self-organize on the ground to create new and innovative models of service delivery. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods, this project examines the processes and tools by which bottom-up processes can take hold and help to shape the physical and social fabric of a city. More information:
  • Urban Psychology Lab
    Lead: Dr Samuel Chng
    The Urban Psychology Lab undertakes a range of research whose overarching aim is to understand the decision making and behaviours in a range of contexts that is part of life in the modern city. Urban psychology provides a framework for enabling psychologists to effectively and collaboratively work on issues relevant to people in urban societies today.The research in the lab focuses on two interrelated questions: How do people make decisions? and How can these decisions be altered? As such, the research takes a contextual, multi-level and interdisciplinary approach to implementing evidence-based practices promoting changes in decisions and behaviours, working closely with industry and community partners to bridge the gap between research and practice.

    Ongoing research:

    • Perception and Acceptance of Autonomous Vehicles in Singapore (2020-2021)
      • This project sets out to better understand commuter perceptions and acceptance towards autonomous vehicles, which would facilitate the adoption of those technologies into the Singapore public transport system and enhance the commuter experience. This project is in collaboration with the Sustainable Urban Mobility Research Laboratory and sponsored by the Public Transport Council (PTC).
    • Predicting adversarial behaviours and their motivation for automated network defense (2019-2022)
      • The project aims to design a framework modelling the motivations, cognitive antecedents and dynamic decision-making processes of adversaries in the lead-up to, as well as during, a cyber-attack. The team will also research novel algorithms for graph embedding with application to anomaly and attack detection. They will design and develop an SDN-programmable networking testbed to validate their findings, including algorithms for predicting adversarial behaviors and automating network defense and intrusion detection. This project is in collaboration with the ST Engineering-SUTD Cybersecurity Lab.

    Past research/collaboration:

    • Designing for Adoption of Autonomous Mobility Services (2019-2020)
      • Public acceptance of autonomous vehicles is a possible barrier to plans to roll-out AVs as part of public transportation. Available findings on the general acceptance of AVs suggest that the public tend to be skeptical of travelling in or alongside AVs. The objectives of this project are to understand the adoption and design considerations surrounding Autonomous Mobility Services in Singapore. This project is in collaboration with the Sustainable Urban Mobility Research Laboratory, SUTD-MIT International Design Centre and Daimler.
    • Cooling Singapore: Field Campaigns (2017-2020)
      • Cooling Singapore is interested in the awareness, beliefs and attitudes of Singapore’s population towards climate change and Urban Heat Island mitigation. Through online and on-site survey campaigns, Cooling Singapore has gained insights into the willingness to pay for the implementation of certain heat mitigation strategies in Singapore. Also, the impact of different outdoor climatic exposures on the cognitive performance of vulnerable population are being analysed, such as the seniors. These insights will provide important information for the development of a district-scale to island-wide vulnerability map.

See also projects under Future of Cities — Future Digital Economies and Digital Societies.