Editorial Pick 2015: Is higher education heading toward a smart city future?

Paper 5 title: “Development and use of a digital signage system for revitalizing regional shopping districts.”

Region: Japan

Focus: Discusses the results from Kanazawa Institute of Technology (KIT) Digital Signage Project, which combines project-based learning and on-the-job-training initiatives to investigate the opportunities for impeding the decline of shopping districts. Students learn digital skills, specifically within digital signage, and produce digital multimedia to engage the city’s audience. Researchers say the test run of the project was successful, and plan to adapt the digital signage technology and media focus for campuses.

Paper 6 title: “Facebook as an e-learning tool for higher education institutes.”

Region: Pakistan

Focus: The authors tackle the “manifoldness of social communication in a modern higher education setting, and argue that social media [especially Facebook] can be applied as a tool for e-learning.” Social media can also become a driver for growing education and thus, support the provision of quality informal education to all citizens in a smart city concept, say the authors. Higher-ed institutions in Pakistan can harness Facebook to improve students’ academic performance through facilitating communication between students and faculty, and support the development of social capital and user-generated content.

Paper 7 title: “Mobile-based system for cost-effective e-learning contents delivery in resource and bandwidth-constrained learning environments.”

Region: Tanzania

Focus: Researchers focus on the use of mobile tech to sustainably support education and skills development in developing countries (like Tanzania). Since a majority of students own more than one mobile device, the authors present a conceptual model for a cost-effective mobile-based learning content delivery system for resource and network-constrained environments, reducing the dependence on internet connection and a fully operational technology infrastructure within a developing smart city.

Paper 8 title: “Our building is smarter than your building: The use of competitive rivalry to reduce energy consumption and linked carbon footprint.”

Region: South Africa

Focus: Establishes “a unique path in a smart city concept from a typical university setting toward a smart campus as a distinctive symbol for innovation and laboratory for experiments,” write the authors. Researchers focus on sustainable development in a research and learning agenda, exploring the link between smart buildings and an intelligent community, employing the University of Cape Town as a case study and serving as a best practice example for urban development in Cape Town.

Paper 9 title: “Informing physicians using a situated decision support system: Disease management for the smart city.”

Region: Canada

Focus: Researchers demonstrate the complexity of smart city ecosystems and urban development, offering a critical view of the smart city nature debate in terms of health care management practices and proper involvement of people in decision, management, and design procedures. Provides reference on city health care management for policy makers, as well as future workforce requirements for interested institutions.

With these papers, Klett and Wang say they hope to facilitate the important experiences and approaches recommended in the special issue toward the adaptive implementation of the smart city concept with support of higher education, in order to “advance the educational landscape and the employment conditions of tomorrow’s smart workforce by improving human, learning, work, and life performance in a smart city setting.”

For more detailed information on smart cities, the special issue, and the nine papers, click on the special issue here.