Smart Cities DRG

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Smart Cities: A human-centered approach to smart cities and the built environment.

  • Brock Craft, Senior Lecturer, HCDE
  • Andrew Davidson, Senior Lecturer, HCDE
  • Brian Johnson, Associate Professor, Architecture

Spring 2016, HCDE 496/596
Tuesday, 4:15—5:45 pm, Sieg 420
3 credits, CR/NC

We are interested in exploring the design space created by taking a human-centered approach to the coordination of the digital, human and built environment in an urban setting, often referred to as Smart Cities.

This DRG will gather a small group of students together to investigate human-centered issues for highly instrumented and data-rich urban built environments.

We will be exploring questions such as:

  • What do people mean when they talk about Smart Cities?
  • What about Smart Cities is human-centered?
  • What technologies are in use or envisioned in Smart Cities?
  • What differentiates dystopian and utopian views of Smart Cities?
  • What problems should UCD address?
  • What could we address at UW?
  • How could the UW campus figure in this investigation?
  • How could regional urban systems in Seattle be incorporated?
  • How could we explore and prototype ideas to address this topic in future HCDE courses?

We envision establishing this theme of Smart Cities as a topic or thread in future HCDE courses (for the 2016-17 academic year). The purpose of this DRG is to explore the issues and literature related to the theme and develop some ideas for how various courses could embrace this theme in projects or research.

The output of the group’s efforts will be:

  • Video reports summarizing the research findings
  • Plans for a possible summer course to continue the work
  • Ideas for tools to use in future prototyping courses
  • Speculation on an Urban Sensing Campus Network

We are looking for dedicated and enthusiastic students at all levels (BS to PhD) to help with this project. We will be limiting participation to a small number of students. Only those willing to commit to at least 3 credit hours will be considered.

If you are interested in participating, please send email to Andrew Davidson ( with a copy of your resume/CV and a short statement expressing your relevant experience and why you are interested in this project. The deadline to apply is February 26. You may also contact Brock Craft ( or Brian Johnson ( with questions.