The core of Cities of Things Future Studio is the research we perform. In 2018 we established the Delft Design Lab Cities of Things. Through the research activities of postdocs and numerous graduation research projects, we build experience and knowledge on several aspects and domains of the cities of things.

Two papers have been published as part of the research activities.

  • Near Future Cities of Things: Addressing Dilemmas through Design Fiction
  • Envisioning and Questioning Near Future Urban Robotics

Near Future Cities of Things: Addressing Dilemmas through Design Fiction (paper)

Illustration by Maria Luce Lupetti

In 2018 we (Maria Luce Lupetti, Nazli Cila, Iskander Smit) wrote a paper where we set out the concept of Things As Citizens through sketching some scenarios for possible future city companions. The abstract:

The smart city infrastructure will soon start to include smart agents, i.e., agentic things, which co-exist and co-perform with human citizens. This near-future scenario explores the flexible types of collaborations and relationships between human and nonhuman citizens. Drawing on current technology forecasts and AI/robotics literature, we created five fictional concepts for reflecting on themes we deem important for such collaborations: responsibility, delegation, relationship, priority, and adaptation. The promises, challenges, and threats of these themes are discussed in this paper, together with the new questions that were opened up through the use of design fiction as a method.

Find the full paper here:

Envisioning and Questioning Near Future Urban Robotics

Lupetti and Cila developed a workshop format that was tested at ThingsCon 2018. In this paper the workshop and results are described.

Robotic services, which have started to appear in urban environments, are going to transform our society. Designers of these robots are not only required to meet technical and legal challenges, but also address the potential social, political, and ethical consequences of their design choices. In this paper, we present a workshop format with its related tools intended for enabling speculation about such possible futures and fostering reflection on potential socio-ethical implications that might support/oppose these futures. We report the results and discussion of one particular workshop case, in which the implementation of two particular robotic services for a city was envisioned and questioned, i.e., surveillance and delivery of goods. By discussing the results, we illustrate how such a workshop format might be beneficial for setting the agenda for a more conscious design of urban robots and orienting future research towards meaningful themes related to the emerging coexistence scenarios between citizens and robots.

Find the full paper via Researchgate.

Minor projects universities

Several minor projects of partnering Universities of Applied Sciences have been themed on Cities of Things research:

  • Final minor Master Digital Design of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences; Kiko, the bike as partner
  • Teams WeConnect and WePredikt of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Teams Connected Experiences bachelor minor Industrial Design Engineering TU Delft

Master graduation research projects

The master research projects have been linked to building fundamental knowledge and applications in the near future. An overview of the projects:

Poster by Louise Hugen
Poster of Jelmer’s project

Research in progress

Currently multiple research projects are on-going:

Jim Unterweger – Digital Assistant for a balanced Home Office Work Environment

Jip Schelling – Mobility points,how will theyfunction, look and enrich the city?

As soon as the projects are completed a short introduction and links to full report will be added.