Learning Expeditions on Smart City: Explore the future of mobility and urban life

Cities around the world are transforming to become smarter. Some cities are particularly inspiring when it comes to innovative technological applications to optimise their urban capabilities. Use cases range from improvements in mobility / transportation systems, urban planning, waste management, access to housing and basic services for all, inclusion of elderly and disabled people, or democratisation of decision-making in urban development thanks to technological solutions like 3D open platforms.

Where to organise a learning expedition on the topic of Smart City ?

According to the innovation cities index 2019, the 5 most innovative cities are :

We organise learning expeditions in all these cities, as well as virtual learning expeditions. We usually recommend focusing on London and Singapore, both of which are praised as some of the most sustainable cities in the world (Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index 2019).

Singapore’s Prime Minister launched the Smart Nation initiative in 2014. To support the initiative, the government has set aside billions and open data has been made available at government portals.

Virtual Singapore

Virtual Singapore, developed with the French company Dassault Systemes, allows scientists and urban planners to conduct experiments and run simulations through a data-rich, 3D model of Singapore at the touch of a button.

Elderly inclusion

Singapore focuses on addressing healthcare service provisions for elderly citizens through a range of technologies, including digital service platforms as well as remote monitoring devices. Among other initiatives, Singapore’s think tank ACCESS Health International and NUS Enterprise co-created the startup competition and incubator Modern Ageing Singapore in 2015. Every year, winners receive a grant to develop their idea within the next 3 years.

Innovative public services

Singapore’s government is often compared to a corporation and sometimes informally named “Singapore Inc”. In fact, the Prime Minister’s office was one of the first to launch an Innovation Lab as a small Design Thinking unit of the Public Service Division (PSD) in 2012.

The Singapore Government has launched and completed key strategic national projects, including the National Digital Identity portal SingPass, the adoption of PayNow which makes e-payments more integrated and interoperable, and the Moments of Life application which aims to address citizens’ pain points when transacting with the Government.

A vision for a Smart mobility

Singapore has applied smart, connected traffic solutions, in conjunction with very strong policy curtailing car ownership in an effort to reduce the number of vehicles on its roads. This vision makes Singapore the perfect place to experiment with smart alternatives to cars based on the sharing economy. Singapore was one of the first places to have stationless shared bicycles (Obike, Ofo, Mobike). This city also has the second biggest electric vehicle car-sharing program after Paris (BlueSG).

London’s growing population is putting pressure on transport and public services. That’s why the mayor has launched a set of initiatives called Smarter London Together to make London “the smartest city in the world”. The project promotes user-centric design, data sharing, connectivity, digital leadership and skills, and collaboration between public services and the private sector.

Smart mobility / transport systems

Traffic congestion has been one of the greatest challenges for London. Through its cutting-edge mobility systems including smart parking initiatives, London is managing the congestion problems.

Its innovation with regard to transportation has led it to install the Heathrow pods, capsules that work as a means of transit to connect with Heathrow Airport, one of the busiest on the planet

Participatory approach

To connect and engage its citizens, London has set up a free open-access data platform known as the London Datastore. London Datastore connects every citizen to every event happening in the city. It is open for everyone to gain access to information and statistics starting from property prices to crime rates. Every month more than 50,000 residents, companies, researchers and tech developers make use of the data to manage daily operations and plans in the city.

Connected city

Intel, for instance, is contributing to technology research in London, through the Connected Cities Institute. This institute supports the research of user-centric technology solutions, such as London Living Labs. As part of the Living Labs project, scientists are performing air, water quality and ecology tests in Hyde Park. This project uses a network of wireless sensors.

Singapore’s Prime Minister launched the Smart Nation initiative in 2014. To support the initiative, the government has set aside billions and open data has been made available at government portals.

Smart mobility

Beside being home to the largest number of mobility-focused innovation labs, launched by car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, the airplane company Lufthansa or the national train German Rail (DB), the Berlin startup ecosystem is filled with companies working on “Mobility as a Service” solutions to make on-demand mobility more efficient.


Waste management

Berlin is also innovating when it comes to waste management. In Potsdamer, downtown Berlin, waste management company Alba has developed a waste system that collects food waste from restaurants, extracts polluted water and sends it to biogas plants for further treatment. This program reduces up to 40% of waste in this area of Berlin.

Companies and government working together

The giant IoT company Cisco has established in Berlin and is working together with the German government to make Berlin an even smarter city. Cisco is supporting the city in developing the areas of telemedicine, network infrastructure, and security. This move is a part of Cisco’s project ‘Deutschland Digital’ in which the company is preparing to invest $500 million in the city.