BOLD Cities x Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences – Graduation project on training programmes for councillors on digital technologies and (big)data awareness in the city

BOLD Cities x Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences – Graduation project on training programs for councilors on digital technologies and (big)data awareness in the city

The LDE Center for BOLD Cities believes it is important that citizens and administrators can understand, assess, and steer digitization and the related use of (big) data in municipalities. As one of the most important links between citizens and administrators, the town/city council plays a crucial role in achieving the desired outcomes regarding digitization and big data use. However, the municipal councilors’ lack of knowledge about digitization and big data has been an impeding factor. BOLD Cities, in collaboration with students from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (HvA), therefore started a project with the aim to develop a training program that helps city councilors to:

  1. understand technical forms and scope of digitization and data use in the municipality
  2. recognize the powers of the municipal council
  3. learn to apply party political visions to municipal digitization issues
  4. learn to place and stimulate the use of digital technologies for control or services on the agenda

Since the beginning of February, the students from HvA have been working on this project. In fact, it is also their graduation project for their bachelor’s degree in public administration. The final findings of the project will be published and presented in June (date to be announced). Miyabi Babasaki from the LDE Center for BOLD Cities is the supervisor of the project and is working closely with the students.


About the Students

Julian Kuipers

My name is Julian Kuipers and I am in my last year of my study Public Administration. In addition to my studies, I like to be on the football field and I can often be found in the cinema.

During my studies I came into contact with many different social issues in the urban environment. When looking for solutions to social issues, more and more new technologies come into view. I've also noticed that these technologies come with a downside. Just think of the digital doorbells that bring a greater sense of security, but on the other hand limit privacy.

During my graduation assignment at Bold Cities, I hope to be able to investigate to what extent city councilors have expertise in considering emerging technologies in the smart city.


Erik Slingerland

Hi, I'm Erik Slingerland. I am 20 years old, and I study public administration at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. During my studies I encountered the concept smart city. This concept really appealed to me, so I continued to dive into it during my minor and internship. I have tried here by means of (big) data analyzes to provide insight into complex topics in dashboards for policy officers. However, there are many more possibilities that smart solutions offer in the city. I am looking forward to investigating in the coming months at the center for BOLD cities which applications are possible and what should be paid attention to in a smart city.


Jurgen Vlaar

My name is Jurgen Vlaar (21), I am a fourth-year public administration student at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam. My decision to do research at BOLD Cities is because I see the importance of the big questions about technological developments in society. It is an important development that, in my opinion, is still too little talked about. As a public administrator, I would like to contribute to get things started.

Smart Cities have great potential. They provide many instruments that allow municipalities to manage even better on the basis of data. However, this has some caveats. For example, there are many doubts about how far governments can go with regard to the privacy of its residents. In addition, large tech companies gain a lot of influence and power in public administration while we did not vote for them. Take my personal mobile phone, it's a very handy thing to have, but on the other hand, it's a Chinese brand. These brands are regularly in the news because of possible data dissemination of sensitive information to the Chinese government.

That is why I hope in this research to learn more about the relationships between the parties to this issue. To what extent does the municipality have authority over Smart Cities, and how dependent are they on overarching governments and companies, for example.

Dorien Zandbergen (lecturer from Hva)

Dorien Zandbergen is the mentor from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences who brought the students in touch with the Centre for BOLD Cities. She is an academic interested in a more human-centred digital society. She creates learning environments that facilitate better mutual understanding within and between collaborating organizations. And she strives for a better position of power for citizens amidst technological and bureaucratic systems.