Towards a Sustainable Smart Cities Integration in Teaching and
Darya Bululukova and Harald Wahl
Institute of Information Engineering and Security, University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien,
Hoechstaedtplatz 6, 1200 Vienna, Austria
Keywords: Smart Cities Education, Lifelong Learning, Learning Platform, Holistic Education, Smart Energy, Smart
Abstract: The urban population growth and rapid urbanization are the key issues many of the European cities are
currently dealing with. Vienna, as the one of the leading cities, embodies the smart cities goals and values.
The new Smart City Wien Framework Strategy is more than a technological approach, furthermore, it
emphasises importance of the social innovation. Nevertheless, the strategy lacks concrete goals for
academic research and smart cities integration into educational programs. Little to no academic research
discusses smart cities oriented study programs. This paper aims to close existing gap and proposes
exemplary practical approach to integrate smart cities concepts at the academic level. Starting with the basic
evaluation of the existing smart cities relevant study programs in the European area, we elaborate three
interacting tracks for implementation: educational Web platform, postgraduate program and cross-
departmental study programs including student projects. A practical, professional field-oriented and
diversity-fair approach is chosen. The paper describes the status quo of the implementation process and in
particular a cross-departmental study program. This exemplary implementation concept of smart cities may
serve as a basis for universities with practice-oriented education to utilize own smart cities related studies.
The smart cities concept is an emerging process with
the key fields being often discussed among
practitioners and academia. According to
(Chourabi , et al., 2012), the concept of the smart
cities can be divided into technological factors,
human factors, and institutional factors as shown in
Table 1.
Table 1: Smart cities factors (Chourabi , et al., 2012).
Technology factors Human
Smart technologies Social capital Policy
Mobile technologies Regulations
and directives
Virtual technologies
Digital networks
One of the established classifications defines
economy, people, mobility, environment, living, and
governance as the main sub-areas of smart cities,
with each sub-area characterized by several relevant
factors (Giffinger, et al., 2014). Despite the smart
cities concept often being emphasised as a
systematic approach with all sub-areas equally
involved into the goal achievement, the analysis by
(Manville, et al., 2014) has shown that the smart
cities initiatives are dominated by the smart
environment characteristics. Over 50 percent of the
initiatives in the examined sample included more or
less smart environment-oriented activities. Table 2
sums up the number of cities with initiatives aligned
with Europe 2020 goals. The lowest number of the
initiatives was identified within the educational area.
The European framework strategy Europe 2020
defines a framework for the economical
development across the region, in order to create
smart, sustainable and inclusive economy (Manville,
et al., 2014). The main targets include employment
increase, R&D and innovation boost, climate change
measures and education improvement. The intention
in the educational area is to reduce the dropout rates
Bululukova D. and Wahl H..
Towards a Sustainable Smart Cities Integration in Teaching and Research.
DOI: 10.5220/0005495701010106
In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Smart Cities and Green ICT Systems (SMARTGREENS-2015), pages 101-106
ISBN: 978-989-758-105-2
2015 SCITEPRESS (Science and Technology Publications, Lda.)
below 10 percent and to increase percentage of
people, who completed at least the third level
education, up to 40 percent (Manville, et al., 2014).
Table 2: Number of cities with Europe 2020 target
oriented projects (Manville, et al., 2014).
Europe 2020 targets Number of cities
Employment 4
R&D 2
Energy & Environment 18
Education 1
Poverty 7
This paper attempts to fill the gap in the area of
smart people and education, by analysing the main
goals within the existing smart cities initiatives and
by purposing a practical integration plan.
The social and human factors within smart cities
are specified by (Giffinger, et al., 2014) as follows:
Level of qualification
Lifelong learning
Ethnic plurality
The smart people definition implies e-skills,
ICT-enabled working environment, free access to
education and training acting in inclusive, creative
and innovative society (Manville, et al., 2014).
1.1 Project Main Objectives
The Smart City Wien Framework Strategy of the
municipal government of the city of Vienna
emphasises inclusion of the different population
groups, affordable quality of life, activation and
participation of the citizens in decision-making
processes and integration of the innovation into the
social context, as the main prerequisites of a
successful smart cities policy (Stadt Wien,
Magistratabteilung 18 - Stadtentwicklung und
Stadtplanung , 2014).
The main objectives of the framework till 2050
in the areas of mobility and energy include decrease
of the overall energy consumption per capita in
Vienna by 40 percent, increase of the renewable
energy sources by at least 20 percent, reduction of
the motorized individual traffic to 15 percent and
complete switch to the alternative drive technology
within the city limits (Stadt Wien,
Magistratabteilung 18 - Stadtentwicklung und
Stadtplanung , 2014).
In addition to the technology-oriented goals, the
city of Vienna sees education and training as one of
the main fields of action. Education as the basis of
the smart cities should create equal opportunities.
The concept of the lifelong learning grants access to
educational opportunities for all population groups.
The European Academic Smart Cities Network
(EU-ASCIN) project, founded by the municipal
government, supports the implementation of the
Smart City Wien Framework Strategy through
design of the new study programs and educational
concepts, and through deployment of the smart cities
concepts in the existing bachelor and master study
programs at the University of Applied Sciences
(UAS) Technikum Wien.
The current status quo includes first integration
steps in the bachelor study programs “Transportation
and Environment” and “Renewable Energy
1.2 Integration Plan
The dissemination of the smart cities concept takes
place in three interacting tracks as displayed in
Figure 1.
Figure 1: Three-track integration plan.
The first track addresses the broader public. On an
own educational and communication platform, EU-
ASCIN project provides up-to-date information in
the area of smart cities, e.g. technological progress,
relevant legislative regulations or current events.
Apart from the information area, the platform
provides required research infrastructure to simplify
implementation of the innovative projects.
Additionally, the platform supports academic
institutions and industry stakeholder in finding
cooperation partners for joint projects.
Second subarea faces qualified decision-makers
as target audience. For the people who are already
involved in the smart cities in their daily business
and are willing to enhance their knowledge, EU-
ASCIN plans to offer postgraduate study program
with the required holistic know-how in this area. In
the nearest future those professionals should provide
broad range assistance in the smart cities
Third subarea provides specializations within
existing study programs for academic education with
the main subject of smart cities. The UAS
Technikum Wien already offers study programs
involving some of the main topics, such as smart
energy, smart environment, and smart mobility. In
the context of the project, inter-departmental
(mobility and energy departments) courses in smart
cities are offered. EU-ASCIN has established
cooperation with a partner university in Ulm
(Germany) and Austrian Institute of Technology.
Implemented Web platform will support study
programs by providing e-learning courses.
In the first step, the evaluation of the existing smart
cities related studies was performed. As a result, 15
Bachelor’s and 24 Master’s programs with such
smart cities relevant focuses as renewable energy
technologies, energy efficiency, building
management, mobility and transportation,
information and communication technologies,
environmental studies and resource managements,
electronics and driver assistance systems, telematics
and control engineering could be identified at the
universities of applied sciences in Austria.
Additionally, 8 Bachelor’s and 10 Master’s degree
programs at the universities in Austria are involved
in some of the smart cities specific topics.
The considerable specific training opportunities
exist on the European level, in form of European
Master programs held on several partner
universities. This reflects the core idea of connected
interdisciplinary training. The European Institute of
Innovation and Technology offers several Master’s
degree programs, such as Energy for Smart Cities,
Energy Technologies and Smart Electrical Networks
and Systems.
After analysing the different educational
programs, few smart cities specific training
opportunities, which implement smart cities as
global, interdisciplinary topic could be identified.
From the evaluation results, the Master’s degree
program at the University of Applied Sciences
Joanneum explicitly integrates the system approach
into the Bachelors degree study programEnergy,
Transport and Environmental Management”. At the
university level the KTH Stockholm with Energy
Innovation Master Program with smart cities
specialization should be mentioned (Wahl, et al.,
2.1 Mobility and Energy
The concept for the integration of holistic smart
cities concept is based on the strong use of the
synergies between its individual subareas. Previous
concepts are strongly domain-specific approaches
e.g. renewable energy oriented or mobility oriented
study programs.
The proposed concept intentionally limits the
scope of smart cities to the 3 chosen sub-aspects:
smart mobility, smart energy and smart people
(Wahl, et al., 2014). The advantage of this approach
is the possibility for deeper understanding and the
crosslinking of these areas.
Smart mobility is dealing with the energy-
efficient, safe, comfortable and affordable
transportation possibilities. Bachelor’s degree
program “Transportation and Environment” focuses
on telematics, traffic management, traffic
information systems, multimodal transportation
modes, environmental aspects of the traffic
engineering, electromobility, driver assistance
systems, and traffic simulation (Bululukova, et al.,
The student projects within the program include
smartphone app development for traffic information,
indoor navigation, multimodal ticketing, software
development for traffic simulation, fleet
management and container management, methodical
analysis of traffic surveys, congestions and routing
Smart energy is a key concept of smart cities,
which provides users with liveable, affordable, and
environmentally friendly living space and supports
their needs based on the sustainable energy
technologies. The “Urban Renewable Energy
Technologies” Bachelor’s degree program offers a
well-founded education with three topical focuses:
renewable energy technologies, industrial-scale
plants and buildings energy design. Students learn
how to develop and set up the power supply systems
of the future as well as how to dimension these
systems and combine them into an integrated system
(Bululukova, et al., 2014).
2.2 Professional Field Research
Design of the new study programs or specializations
requires a clear definition of the prospective job
Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) is
involved into the smart cities research in several sub
areas, such as integrated urban planning thermal
energy networks, energy-efficient interactive
buildings and urban energy supplies. The broad field
of action of AIT is beneficial for the evaluation of
qualification requirements.
AIT has performed professional qualification
requirements study in smart cities context. The
crucial finding of the study points out the lacking of
the interdisciplinary education and need for the
system-integrator qualifications (Neumann and
Schuetz, 2014).
Based on the Smart City Wien Framework Strategy
goals and the identified educational gap from (Wahl,
et al., 2014) following four modules are currently
integrated into the Bachelor’s Degree Program
within the Smart Cities specialization: socio-
technical aspects of smart cities, influencing factors
of smart cities, big data in smart cities and urban
energy supply.
3.1 Socio-technical Aspects of Smart
The specified module should raise the awareness for
such concepts as gender & diversity and doing
gender & diversity. The socio-technical aspects of
smart cities are important components for the user
needs evaluation. In the area of energy and
transportation services, system planning and
infrastructure design user needs are the driving
decisive factor, defining service requirements and
the user acceptance. The traditional survey and
evaluation methods do not take into account
different user groups and user needs. Current
module provides up-to-date toolbox and emphasizes
different interests.
3.2 Influencing Factors of Smart Cities
The main content of the module includes
urbanisation and its influence on the climate,
political strategies and frameworks, and cross-
sectorial planning. The students are synchronized
concerning the existing smart cities activities and
gain knowledge in strategic decision-making.
3.3 Big Data in Smart Cities
The module is divided into the sub areas of data
collection, data aggregation and processing, data
mining, and data use for applications and services.
The module provides practical technology oriented
knowledge in interconnection of smart mobility,
smart energy and ICT. Practical lab exercises
utilizing state of the art technologies in the urban
areas such as Dedicated Short Range
Communication (DSRC), traffic surveillance
cameras, inductive loops, and other traffic sensors
support hands on learning.
3.4 Urban Energy Supply
The module provides knowledge in urban energy
demand, energy systems in urban areas, interfaces in
the energy infrastructure, and scenario development
and modelling.
4.1 Student Projects
Student projects should support the integration of the
smart cities in the study plan. Existing Bachelor’s
study program already has an integrated project
oriented learning part, specializing in mobility or
energy applications. Those projects are usually
initiated by students and supervised by professors in
their own area of expertise. These projects fields are
now expanded to include smart cities systematic
approach and system integration problematic.
Proposed smart cities related projects might
Quality of life sensor network (air quality,
water quality, noise level, infrastructure
availability, etc.)
Reliable real time car to car communication
Stereovision based car detection system
E-cars charging interfaces
Incentives systems for e-mobility
Value added Web services based on the Open
Government Data
Digital radio based telematics services
Some of the already accomplished student projects
are listed below:
Mesoscopic traffic simulation based on the
cellular automata, analysing mutual influence
of the traffic participants
Sensor-based free parking lot detection for the
minimization of the pending traffic share in the
total traffic volume
Driver assistance app providing information
concerning recommended speed for the ‘green
wave’ time slots. The main goal of the project
is the minimization of the acceleration and
deceleration processes, and as a result,
minimization of the fuel consumption and CO2
Sensor-based person detection in the public
transport for occupation level calculation and
seat availability detection. This service should
provide information on the platform or bus stop
attracting new user-groups to use public
To encourage the systematic thinking approach and
further development of the projects, the best
practices projects summary is organized once a year.
Both Bachelor’s and Master’s students are able to
present the result of their work. By attending the
review presentations younger students get involved
into the recent activities and senior students become
possibility to share their knowledge and get useful
4.2 Summer School
On the other hand additional extracurricular
activities are offered for the students who want to
deepen their knowledge beyond courses material.
Several summer schools were organized together
with UAS Ulm, Slovak Technical University
Bratislava, Széchenyi István University, Obuda
University and Budapest University of Technology
and Economics (Danube Universities, 2013). During
a one week program, participants were able to gain
new experiences in courses with topics like
photovoltaic systems, energy storage, power
conversion, hybrid systems, intelligent
transportation systems, solar energy, traffic
simulation, etc.
A new summer school with the emphasis on
smart cities will be held in summer 2015 with the
already existing and established partner universities.
Except for the smart cities specific courses and
exercises, participants become the possibility to visit
high tech research facilities, industry test sites and
best practices living labs for smart cities.
The purposed integration of the smart cities in
education takes into account the Europe 2020
targets, as well as supports regional Smart City
Vienna Framework Strategy in order to raise
awareness and to achieve goals in the area of
education. This paper sums up the implementation
plan for the existing study programs, examining the
future job profiles and smart cities initiatives goals.
The next step may provide evaluation of the existing
job requirements and requalification needs in smart
cities related areas as a basis for the post gradual
study program.
Furthermore, the proposed approach for the
integration of the new topics into educational
programs may be reused in applicable academic
This project EU-ASCIN is funded by the City of
Vienna, department MA23, under the grant number
MA23-Project 14-04.
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