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It felt great to be at the Digital Futures hub with project colleagues – HiSS hybrid workshop

Meet Vladimir Cvetkovic, Professor at the Department for Resources, Energy and Infrastructure at KTH. He is also a Co-PI of research project Humanizing the Sustainable Smart City (HiSS) at Digital Futures.

Picture of Vladimir CvetkovicHi Vladimir, during September you organized some workshops at the Digital Futures hub for the project Humanizing the Sustainable Smart City (HiSS)? Tell us a bit about this project?

– The HiSS project is about improving our basic understanding of human decision-making in the context of smart cities, in particular decision making that affects transition to more sustainable urban systems. Sustainable smart cities are a shared vision for reducing urban carbon footprints, by heavily relying on evolving digital technology of the cyberspace. Our ambition is to better explain human-social decision-making from the micro (neuro-cognitive) level, the meso (individual) level to the macro (urban, institutional) level. 

What was the purpose of these workshops?

– The purpose of the workshop – with three sessions held on separate days – was to gather three well-known scientists in each session and allow for generous brainstorming time following their three presentations. This turned out to be an excellent concept: a full one hour of brainstorming with the three speakers after each session was very fruitful indeed. It was I believe inspiring for all participants – including the speakers themselves – and also helps us with taking further research steps within the project. 

After a long time of only virtual meetings – these workshops were among the first being hybrid at the Digital Futures hub? How did you adapt to this new” situation? Any learning or take-aways?

– Indeed, it felt great to be at the Digital Futures hub with project colleagues! That said, there is no doubt that the hybrid dimension to the workshop also had important advantages: Since participation was easy compared to travelling to Stockholm (2.5h compared to say 4 days at least since 7 out 9 speakers were from USA), it was much easier to gather a distinguished group of lecturers for the workshop. Now that we have established good contact, it will be great to invite many of them back for a real Stockholm visit; we clearly felt that they would appreciate such an invitation.

What will happen next? Will you continue the workshop series next year?

– Our intention is to continue the workshop series over the coming years,  with a broad title: “From smart to intelligent cities: A human-social choice?” It captures the crux of a key societal challenge we face. Co-PIs of HiSS are a very multi-disciplinary team, with backgrounds in urban planning, civil engineering, control-system and information sciences, as well as neuro-cognitive science. Given this fact, the workshop series can help us better bridge our different disciplines toward a common goal of helping societal transition toward sustainable smart cities.


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