The aim of the minor is to introduce students from the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus universities through case-based education to the different smart city concepts and the underlying complexity of modern cities focused on urban technologies and data science with citizen experience and multi-stakeholder governance. The programme is characterised by a multi-disciplinary approach, which allows students to take different perspectives and understand the complexity of smart city life. The programme intends to stimulate a reflective mindset, focusing on the interrelation of problems and responsible innovation. The learning goals concern knowledge, attitude, and skills which in combination need to equip students with a critical mindset that enables them to work toward public needs and interests in smart cities.

For this minor, there is a balance between traditional and innovative learning methods. The modules are designed in a blended learning form, meaning lectures will make use of face-to-face lectures, online documents and articles, and videos/online lectures. Reading materials include policy papers, reports, articles, and books. We will use Canvas as electronic teaching environment.

The minor consists of three modules of 5 EC each for the 15 EC version. The 30 EC version holds four modules of 5 EC and 10 EC research work for an (external) commissioner. The format and modules include classic and innovative teaching methods, i.e., lectures and seminars, field trips, case-based group assignments, video production, blogging and logbooks, and the integration of academia and practice.

Overview minor modules

Module 1: Introduction to the Smart City

In the first module, the students will be introduced to the core ideas of the smart city and technologies. The module will cover various smart city concepts and address the basic digital and data technologies (key enabling technologies) that constitute smart cities. There will also be ample attention to the legal, ethical, political, and social dilemmas in smart cities.

Faculty: Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University


Module 2: Citizens and Everyday Experiences with the Smart City

In this second module, students learn about the place and role of citizens and citizen participation in smart city rhetoric, practice, and design to approach the smart city from the perspective of the citizens themselves. Who has a say in smart city developments and governance; who benefits from them; whose interests are served? Which groups miss out, and how is everyday life in streets, stores, pubs and clubs affected?

Students explore these topics both theoretically and practically: besides attending lectures, workshops and studying literature and other sources, we will guide you through a 3-week design-assignment in which you are challenged to apply your knowledge, insights, and creativity to analyse and design your ideal “citizen centric” smart city.

Faculty: TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology


Module 3: Governing the Smart City

In module 3 the students will focus on how (smart) cities are governed. This includes three themes: (1) Foundations of policymaking and governing the (smart) city in which students are introduced to basic concepts around policymaking and governance and how this has evolved with the introduction of new technologies. (2) Responsible and good governance of digital, urban spaces. This theme highlights ethical challenges around serving citizens while integrating data-driven techniques into policymaking and service delivery. Finally, theme (3) digitizing and datafying the city for, with, and by citizens zooms in on the role of citizens in the smart city and how they are being engaged in the policymaking process.

Faculty: Faculty Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University


Module 4: Urban Data Science

The urban data science module introduces students to the history of quantitative and computational approaches to cities and planning, and to a range of state-of-the-art computational methods and tools that are used in addressing and solving complex contemporary challenges relating to cities, from a data-driven/computational perspective. The module will discuss various risks and limitations that derive from the use of novel urban data to help students design and develop fairer and more efficient urban strategies.

Faculty: TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology


Module 5: Research Participation and Projects

The final module of the minor aims to put the theoretical knowledge of previous modules into practice. Students work on a project in collaboration with an external project commissioner. Students formulate a problem statement for the commissioner and conduct independent and academic research based on this problem statement. During the project, students function as academic consultants and report and present their findings. A key feature of the module is that the project does not only reflect the problem of the urban environment as seen by the government or state but many other elements in the urban environment are included, such as infrastructure, various stakeholders, citizens, and their behaviour.

Faculty: Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam

ECTS: 10