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Smart Cities: Identifying Key Components for Green Transformation


Cities will shape the world we live in: According to UN projections, future cities will account for almost 90% of global population growth, 80% of value added and 60% of total energy consumption. The growing urbanisation trends in both the Arab countries and Germany already now mirror this trend. Re-thinking cities and urban environments is the core strategy of so-called 'smart cities'. Yet, the concepts vary from city to city, depending on the individual framework conditions, strategies, and citizen needs. We want to look at concepts, their implementation and their potential for future solutions and mutual learning in an interdisciplinary manner. For this, we combine the skills of AGYA members in information technology, engineering, energy economics, policy analysis and sustainability studies to screen existing concepts and identify promising blueprints for future developments.

Following this path, we soon discovered that we need to address the multi-faceted issues related to smart cities in a staged manner to look behind the 'glamorous' announcements of cities being smart to identify the real aspects, notably in the fields of energy and digitalisation.

In a joint project with the AGYA Energy, Water and Environment Working Group, we have organised a workshop on the different facets of smart cities, allowing participants from AGYA member countries to identify research partners and engage in mutual learning.

Moving further into the sectorial aspects of smart cities, we address energy strategies and governance: In a first strand of work we sampled promising smart city projects in Germany and the MENA region by the means of stakeholder interviews and fact finding missions. In a horizontal overview from an economic and political governance perspective, the aim is to systematically identify best practice solutions for mutual learning in the field of Smart Energy & Environment. Currently, our sample covers Algiers, Berlin, Bremen, Casablanca, Cologne, Hamburg and Kuwait City. We investigate in economics, energy components, drivers and barriers that lead to the definition of various smart city concepts.

In a second strand of work, we focus on the item that is responsible for the highest amount of energy consumption in modern cities: existing buildings. People in today’s societies are unaware of the impact of their own energy usage and may not be able to identify the important changes required in their energy consumption patterns to improve the energy management in buildings. We will deepen the existing knowledge in the field of the reduction of energy consumption in existing buildings by the use of innovative information and communications technology (ICT) methods and integrated technologies and make an assessment of economic, ecologic and social impacts related to this optimisation. Finally, we will develop a prototype to be used in developing countries, as well as in old buildings in Germany that offer limited option of modification due to historic preservation constrains.

Members in Charge

Djamel Djenouri

Computer Sciences, Engineering
Research Centre on Scientific and Technical Information (CERIST)

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Lalla Btissam Drissi

Mohammed V University-Agdal Faculty of Science Department of Physics

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Kalman Graffi

Computer Sciences
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Faculty of Computer Science, Technology of Social Networks

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Marc Ringel

Economics, Political Economy
HFWU – Nuertingen-Geislingen University, Faculty for Economics and Law

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DATE and Venue of the project

January - December 2018



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