In the new academic year, the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities will introduce the minor SMART and SHARED Cities. The minor looks at the smart city theme from various disciplines. Scientists from across the three universities, Leiden University, TU Delft and Erasmus University, put together the education program. The program consists of a combination of data science, administrative- and social sciences.
Bram Klievink, professor of Public Administration and focussed on digitization and public policy at Leiden University, is affiliated with the minor. He explains that the development of the minor SMART and SHARED Cities will create a real community between the three LDE universities, one in which administrative and technological developments in cities will be discussed side by side. This gives Klievink the opportunity to reflect on how this theme can find a place in education. 'Developing a joint multidisciplinary education program is great fun and educational'.
Complex governance themes
The minor highlights technology in an urban context from various disciplines. Despite the differences across the areas of expertise, Klievink still finds it easy to interact with different experts: 'A collaboration like this forces us to give all perspectives a place, not only within the program but also generally in relation to each other. This creates a close bond, consciously and unconsciously, because we share the same interests.'
Klievink focuses on the administrative side of the smart city. He is developing the module 'Governing the smart city', together with Alex Ingrams, assistant professor of Public Administration. There are many parties involved in the development of a smart city. 'The structures and different concerns are not always clear from the outside,' says Klievink.
Many cities have started working on smart city developments - this has an actual effect on the urban environment, residents and public administration.
‘In recent times, many cities started working on smart city developments, but every city does things differently. Many concrete and tangible measures actually have a clear effect on the urban environment, the inhabitants and public administration. That is why we can make use of many practical examples in our module.’
The module highlights complex administrative questions by looking at the assumptions, ideas and dynamics of all players in the field. Klievink: 'It is in the interpretation of various interests. We have to connect with the citizen and how we can strategically translate needs into concrete projects and the use of technology. ' The administrative questions lie at the intersection of all these interests.
With this minor, we hope to give students a sense of this complexity, while developing an understanding of the role of public administration with regard to smart city developments and the many, different parties involved.”
Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Minor: SMART and SHARED Cities
The minor aims to introduce students from LDE universities to various smart city concepts through case-based learning. The underlying complexity of modern cities, in conjunction with urban technologies, data science, public administration and citizen participation are discussed. Students learn what a smart city is and how the different players in the field relate to each other.
Klievink and his colleagues have to take many things into account in the joint development of the minor. In addition to experimenting with new working methods, the teachers of the minor SMART and SHARED Cities must take into account students with different educational backgrounds. In the course, different perspectives must be presented without overlapping content between the modules. To fulfil this, the development team started designing the curriculum, such as the learning objectives, teaching methods and examinations, well in advance. 'This way, we create a coherent story with this minor. This makes it a very conscious and valuable development process,' says Klievink.
Due to the corona crisis, the staff are forced to think about an online education program. 'This often takes us back to the core of our subjects. What do we want to teach the student? It is a crazy situation; it is the first time that this minor will be taught and yet we do not know what it will look like. Are we going to meet the students in person, or will it be entirely digital?'
Despite all the uncertainty, the development of the minor is progressing beyond expectations, expresses Klievink. 'I have never had such a detailed weekly schedule so far in advance. We have enough tools to be off to a good start.'
Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities
The Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities contributes to forming solutions for urban challenges using data research. The perspectives of the citizen and policy-maker are central to the research. BOLD stands for Big Open and Linked Data.