Smart & intelligent cities

Intelligent / smart cities constitute a breakthrough in contemporary urban development and planning process. Two major driving forces sustained the paradigm shift towards intelligent cities. On the one hand, the rising knowledge and innovation economy that sustains contemporary economic development worldwide, and on the other hand, the spread of the Internet and the web as major technological innovations of our era. Intelligent cities are expected to contribute to the challenges faced by the cities globally and to provide more efficient solutions:

  • Sustain the knowledge economy in developed countries
  • Facilitate the rapid urbanisation in developing countries

It becomes urgent to understand the sources and drivers of city intelligence that assure a higher efficiency in addressing wicked problems of contemporary urban agglomerations. The Spatial Intelligence of cities refers to informational and cognitive processes such as information collection and processing, real-time alert, forecasting, learning, collective intelligence, distributed problem solving, which characterize “intelligent” or “smart” cities. The emphasis on the spatial dimension denotes that urban space and the agglomeration are preconditions of this form of intelligence. However, the concept refers also to the combined deployment of ICTs, institutional settings for knowledge and innovation, and physical infrastructure of cities, to increase the problem-solving capability of a community.

The spatial intelligence of cities results from the standard model of intelligent cities and involves all layers:

  1. City Layer: The physical space of cities and the people in the city; the intelligence, inventiveness, and creativity of individuals who live and work in the city.
  2. Innovation Layer: The institutional space of cities, the social capital and collective intelligence of a city’s population, the institutional mechanisms for knowledge development and co-operation in learning and innovation.
  3. ICT Layer: The digital space and the artificial intelligence embedded into the physical environment of the city. The public broadband communication infrastructure, wired and wireless, plus digital technologies and applications sustaining e-services.

URENIO has participated in various research projects related to the definition of intelligent city architectures for European cities. In particular:

  • STORM CLOUDS – Surfing towards the opportunity of real migration to cloud – based public services
  • PEOPLE – Pilot smart urban ecosystems leveraging open innovation for promoting and enabling future e-services
  • FIREBALL: Future Internet Research and Experimentation By Adopting Living Labs – towards Smart Cities
  • INTELLIGENT THESSALONIKI: Design of Integrated Project
  • OPEN PLATFORM FOR DIGITAL CITIES: Application in the City of Thermi

During these projects, URENIO has analysed the variable geometries of digital, cyber, smart, and intelligent cities and the way that a large number of digital applications actualise many mechanisms which both give structure to and sustain city intelligence. The analysis leads to the identification of four different architectures of spatial intelligence:

  1. Agglomeration intelligence based on the aggregation of many digital applications in various city’s domains that are created by organizations, citizens or businesses.
  2. Orchestration intelligence which stems from collaboration within a community and integration of people’s skills, know-how, collective and machine intelligence.
  3. Amplification intelligence based on learning, up-skilling and talent cultivation using open technology platforms and ICT infrastructure offered by the city.
  4. Instrumentation intelligence based on streams of information generated from the functioning of cities, which enable more informed decisions to be taken by citizens and organisations.

URENIO also focuses on the architecture of the Digital Space of intelligence cities. This architecture emphasizes the role of the ICT components, which play individual roles within the system (i.e., communication, authentication, data repositories, etc.), as well as on the ways that all these components interact in order to establish the expected entire intelligent city scope.

Multi-tier Smart City ICT meta-architecture (Source: ITU-T Focus Group on Smart Sustainable Cities)

URENIO helps cities and communities to successfully interconnect the physical, institutional and digital space of the city and to define the most appropriate combination of the different intelligent city components according to their needs and objectives. Moreover, URENIO develops web platforms with modular, extensible architectures that offer a variety of smart city services.



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Featured Projects



    ONLINE Platform for Smart Specialisation Policy Advice

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  • Storm Clouds

    Storm Clouds

    Surfing Towards the Opportunity of Real Migration to cloud-based public services

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    Mastering innovation in Serbia through development and implementation of interdisciplinary post-graduate curricula in innovation management

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