API stands for ‘application programming interface’. It’s a set of definitions, protocols and tools that allows different software and hardware to integrate with one another.
We’re fast approaching the era of self-driving cars. They’re just one type of autonomous vehicle – a category of vehicles that can sense the environment around them and navigate from one place to another without human input.
Big data refers to the collection of data sets that are so large and complex that it’s difficult to capture, transfer, store, process and interpret with traditional data processing applications. It allows for rich information to be derived on a range of variables such as real-time traffic conditions, air pollution and energy use.
The delivery of services based on solving the needs and challenges of the people they serve – used as a way to increase public satisfaction, improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Combines Infrastructure-as‐a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) technologies for use as a common, city-wide platform for the deployment of integrated smart city technologies. Think: operating system for the city.
Data gathered or shared within a very tight geographical area, such as a street or apartment block.
Crudely, the concept of things (such as devices or everyday objects) to have built-in internet connectivity and the ability to communicate with other connected devices.
Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) is a type of wireless telecommunication wide area network. It facilitates long range communications at a low bit rate between connected objects. Think: a network through which city infrastructure can communicate.
Simply a system that facilitates a variety of transport options, such as cycling, bus, light rail, train, ferry or walking.
Data that is freely available for everyone to use without copyright, patent or other restrictions.
A category of cloud computing services that provides a platform to facilitate the development and management of digital applications.
The use of statistical techniques such as predictive modelling, machine learning and data mining to analyse data and make predictions about the future.
Scalability is one of those topics that comes up a lot. We talk about it with customers, prospects, analysts and the media as one of the key differentiators of our product and why companies should look at us.
We’ve even done reports and benchmark tests to validate the scalability of our product (we are incredibly proud of the results).
In all of this conversations, one thing is very clear – scalability means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
It also becomes increasingly clear that it can be so hard to achieve, especially in the Internet of Things.
An electronic component, module or subsystem used to detect events, triggers or changes in the surrounding environment.
In short: awareness of the surrounding environment; the perception of environmental elements and events and understanding of their meaning. For example: autonomous vehicles have situation awareness.
Small data refers to highly specific fragments of data collected by a large population of sensors. The data, such as an air quality measurements, are small in size but very precise in terms of time and place (see “hyperlocal data”).
Waste receptacles, such as city litter bins and commercial waste bins, equipped with connected sensors that collect and share data on, for example, the need for and frequency of waste collections.
A city that uses smart technologies and connected infrastructure to gather data, improve the provision of public services, reduce civic costs, increase liveability for citizens and boost sustainability.
Smart city applications/apps
A type of smart city technology or system that has a specific function: such as smart street lighting, smart bins or smart drains.
Drains equipped with sensors that send alerts when they are in danger of over-silting or overflowing, and collect fill rate data that can be used for highly efficient predictive cleaning operations.
An enhanced electrical grid that uses analogue or digital technology to gather and act on information such as supplier or consumer behaviour to automatically improve the efficiency and sustainability of electricity distribution.
The integration of smart technologies into the fundamental systems that serve a city or municipal area.
Smart street lighting
Street lights that can be controlled wirelessly to save energy and reduce maintenance costs. The wireless network controlling street lighting can also be expanded to connect sensors that gather data on weather conditions, air pollution and more.
A network that contains built-in diagnostics, management, fault tolerance and other capabilities to prevent downtime and maintain efficient performance.
A system that helps drivers find vacant parking spaces using sensors and communications networks.
The maintenance and betterment of the ecological, social and economic health of a city.
Traffic adaptive lighting
With this type of smart street lighting the brightness of the street lighting varies automatically based on real-time traffic flow data.
Ubiquitous cities (U-cities)
A hyper-connected smart city: all informa
Sudden, sharp events that threaten a city
A unique way of combining urban agriculture, innovative technical solutions and architecture to meet the demand for efficient food production within cities.
A sustainable production system for integrating aquaculture with hydroponic vegetable crops.
A system or network that gathers information, determines the needs, and issues a response or other machine to answer the call.
[driverless car, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) “drone,” or unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV)] – A vehicle that can guide itself without human conduction.
bicycle, electric assist
Where the pedal-assist electric drive system is limited to a decent but not excessive top speed, and where its motor is relatively low-powered.
bicycle detection and actuation
Sensors at regular traffic signals to alert the controller of bicycle crossing demand on a particular approach.
A device that uses sensors that are calibrated to be triggered by bikes, not cars or pedestrians, to count the number of bikes that ride by daily, monthly, and/or yearly.
A designated area at the beginning of a traffic lane at a signalized intersection that provides bicyclists a visible and safe way to get ahead of traffic during a red signal.
bike lane, buffered
Convention bicycle lane paired with a designated buffer space separating he bicycle lane from the adjacent motor vehicle travel lane and/or parking lane.
Innovative transportation programs that are ideal for short distance trips provided users the ability to pick up a bike at a self-serve station and return it at a different self-serve station within the system’s service area.
bike signal head
A traffic control device, exclusively for bicycles, used at an existing conventional traffic signal to improve safety, guidance, and operational problems at intersections where bicycles may have different needs than motorized traffic.
The variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem.
A fuel derived from living matter.
The design and production of materials, structures, and systems that are modeled on biological entities and processes
Edward O. Wilson’s theory that humans have an innate, genetic predisposition to connect or affiliate with nature.
A city that contains abundant nature; care about, seek to protect, restore and grow this nature, and that strive to foster deep connections and daily contact with the natural world.
An innovative method of design that incorporates elements of nature into modern design to help restore and preserve our innate need to affiliate with nature.
Man built filtration systems that use soil, gravel, and plants to catch and process stormwater before being returned to ground water.
A short post used to divert traffic from an area or road.
see autonomous vehicle
see autonomous vehicle
Uses energy stored in its rechargeable batteries, which are recharged by common household electricity.
A car fueled by gasoline that uses a battery to improve efficiency.
A permit that allows a country or organization to produce a certain amount of carbon emissions and can be traded if the full allowance is not used.
The amount of carbon dioxide and other carbon compounds emitted due to the consumption of fossil fuels by a particular person, group, etc.
carbon neutral city
No net release of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, especially through offsetting emissions such as by planting trees.
The process of removing carbon from the atmosphere.
A tax on fossil fuels, especially those used by motor vehicles, intended to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide.
The uppermost threshold for the amount of humans that the earth can sustain.
Change through social practices and individual choices
Change through policy-making and regulation
A chicane is a series of alternating mid-block curb extensions or islands that narrow the roadway and require vehicles to follow a curing S-shaped path, which discourages speeding (traffic calming). Chicanes cal also create new areas for landscaping and public space in the roadway. [see traffic calming]
Stresses weaken the fabric of a city on a daily or cyclical basis [see acute shocks]
see global climate change
A system that does not exchange matter with substances outside of its own parts.
Community Farm Alliance
A community organization strategy for connecting local farmers with the community by creating a direct local market. Typically a community member can pay up front for regular supply of fresh produce from a local farmer.
A piece of land gardened by a cooperative group of people living in the area that encourages an urban community’s food security.
Community Supported Agriculture
A system in which a farm operation is supported by shareholders within the community who share both the benefits and risks of food production.
An urban planning and urban design concept, which promotes relatively high residential density with mixed land uses. [also city of short distances]
contra-flow bicycle lanes
Bicycle lanes designed to allow bicyclists to ride in the opposite direction as motorized traffic on a one-way street
The practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet
The notion that culture takes time to catch up with technological innovations, and that social problems and conflicts are caused by this lag. Subsequently, cultural lag does not only apply to this idea only, but also relates to theory and explanation.
An exclusive bicycle facility that combines the experience of an off-street bicycle path with on-street infrastructure of a conventional bicycle lane. A cycle track is physically separated from motor traffic and distinct from the sidewalk.
When countries’ age structures change favorably, meaning that they have more people of working age than dependents, they can see a boost to development, provided that they empower, educate and employ their young people.
The gulf between those who have ready access to computers and the Internet, and those who do not.
Natural disaster that leads to other disasters in a domino effect.
Multiple, interrelated disasters such as earthquakes, fires and floods.
(natural-technological disaster) – Natural disaster which creates a technological disaster such as power outages or nuclear incidents.
A disaster that is increased in severity by subsequent disasters. For example, an ice-storm that creates impacts to transportation and power supply.
A combination of a society’s preparedness for a hazard, their ability to mitigate, plan, and respond immediately and effectively to it, and their ability to recover and regenerate from the event.
see autonomous vehicle
An Eco-city is a human settlement modeled on the self-sustaining resilient structure and function of natural ecosystems. An ecocity seeks to provide healthy abundance to its inhabitants without consuming more renewable resources than it replaces.
The development of products and processes that contribute to sustainable development, applying the commercial application of knowledge to elicit direct or indirect ecological improvements.
A network of relationships and interactions and theory that understands the interrelations of those relationships (example: families)
Services provided by nature that humans and other organisms rely on in our everyday lives.
Responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.
A community whose inhabitants seek to live according to ecological principles, causing as little impact on the environment as possible.
The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve the activities of public sector organizations. Some definitions restrict e-government to Internet-enabled applications only, or only to interactions between government and outside groups. (eGovernment for Development)
A vehicle which uses one or more electric motors for propulsion.
Energy generated in ways that do not deplete natural resources or harm the environment, especially by avoiding the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power.
Energy from a source that cannot be replaces, such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
Energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or solar power.
The energy the Earth received from the sun, primarily as visible light and other forms of electromagnetic radiation.
The total amount of energy used on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.
environmental justice movement
Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
The disproportionate impact of environmental hazards on people of color.
A broad ideology concerned with protecting the environment.
The absence of avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, or geographically.
A transformative quality improvement tool used to improve planning, decision-making, and resource allocation leading to more racially equitable policies and programs. At its core, it is a set of principles, reflective questions, and processes that focuses at the individual, institutional, and systemic levels. (Multnomah County)
The next economy following the agrarian economy, the industrial economy, and the most recent service economy. [see experiential realms]
Experience design (XD) is the practice of designing products, processes, services, events, omnichannel journeys, and environments with a focus placed on the quality of the user experience and culturally relevant solutions.
The Experience Economy offers four realms of experiential value to add to a business. Pine and Gilmore (1999) termed these realms, the 4Es. The 4Es consist of adding Educational, Esthetic, Escapist, and Entertainment experiences to the business.
first and last mile
Gaps in public transit which require individuals to use other forms of transportation such as driving their car or riding their bike.
This occurs when residents live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store.
A mile over which a food item is transported from producer to consumer, as a unit of measurement of the fuel sued to do this.
Intended to be a planned, self-contained community surrounded by “greenbelts”, containing proportionate areas of residences, industry, and agriculture.
global climate change
A change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onward and attributed largely to the increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.
global climate change adaptation
Actions taken to help communities and ecosystems cope with changing climate condition. (UNFCCC)
global climate change mitigation
Any action taken to permanently eliminate or reduce the long-term risk and hazards of climate change to human life, property. (IPCC)
see sustainable development goals
Green alleyways convert underused alleyways into community assets and resources for environmental, economic and social benefits. Green alleyways activate the public space for more than vehicular use and garbage disposal and involve a combination of environmental, environmental health, economic, and social purposes.
An environmentally sustainable building, designed, constructed and operated to minimize the total environmental impacts. [see living building]
green building materials
Composed of renewable and/or recycled materials, rather than nonrenewable resources.
Urbanization in balance with nature. [see sustainable city]
A process used to determine the amount of environmental impact a city has.
Manmade structure and technology that are designed with the intent of being green, i.e. green energy in preference to dirty (non-renewable, polluting) energy.
When plants of different varieties are planted on rooftops to facilitate increased plant matter. Their function can range from aesthetic to practical insulation or food source.
A street right-of-way that, through a variety of design and operational treatments, gives priority to pedestrian circulation and open space over other transportation uses. The treatments may include sidewalk widening, landscaping, traffic calming, and other pedestrian-oriented features.
A living or green wall is a self-sufficient vertical garden that is attached to the exterior or interior of a building. The living wall’s plants root in a structural support, which is fastened to the wall itself.
A purposefully designed timing of a series of traffic lights to produce a green light for bicycles traveling at the correct speed (typically 12 mph) as they arrive at the lights.
An area of vegetation in an urban area set aside for aesthetic or recreational purposes.
Disinformation disseminated by an organization so as to present an environmentally responsible public image.
A strip of undeveloped land near an urban area, set aside for recreational use of environmental protection.
The study of how environmental factors can harm human health and how to identify, prevent, and control such effects. (University of Washington)
Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of families and communities through promotion of healthy lifestyles, research for disease and injury prevention and detection and control of infectious diseases. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation)
Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by people who have historically been made vulnerable by policies set by local, state, and federal institutions. Populations can be defined by factors such as race or ethnicity, gender, education or income, disability, geographic location, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Health disparities are inequitable and are directly related to the historical and current unequal distribution of social, political, economic, and environmental resources. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to attain his or her full health potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential because of social position or other socially determined circumstances. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
One that is continuously creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources that enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to the maximum potential. (World Health Organization)
high albedo pavement
High albedo concrete is a special type of pavement that reflects more light than dark-colored materials due to its lighter color. This causes the concrete to have a lower surface temperature, resulting in less energy needed to cool surrounding buildings and less energy consumed by nighttime lighting.
An intention or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who are handicapped or learning-disabled, or racial and sexual minorities.
see smart city
Internet of Things (IoT)
The interconnection via the Internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects, enabling them to send and receive data.
last mileage problem
A problem faced by transit agencies, how to get commuters to public transit without the use of individually owned automobiles.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED
An ecology-oriented building certification program run under the auspices of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
Living alleyways are narrow, low-volume traffic streets that focus on livability, instead of parking and traffic. Living alleyways are primarily for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as spaces for social uses. Vehicles are typically still allowed access but with reduced speeds.
A concept that uses nature as the ultimate measuring stick for a building’s performance.
see green wall
low carbon city
A low carbon city reduces its carbon footprint by focusing on renewable energy and mitigation measures.
low impact development
Development which through its low negative environmental impact either enhances or does not significantly diminish environmental quality.
A location between intersections where marked crosswalks have been provided. The crosswalk may have signals or no signals. They offer a convenient location for pedestrians to cross in areas without frequent intersection crossings.
The process of adapting something to modern needs or habitats.
modular bike share
A bike share that is usually solar-powered, quick and cheap to install, has the ability to alter and move the stations, and typically does not require trenching, excavation, or other preparatory work.
Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM)
The transfer, collection, and treatment of municipal solid waste.
net zero city
see zero energy city
The difficulty to comprehend the fact that a disaster is occurring.
open bottom catch basin
A component in a landscape drainage system. It is a box that is put into the ground near areas of standing water to help facilitate proper water drainage and avoid property damage.
The condition of having a population so dense to cause environmental deterioration, and impaired quality of life, or a population crash.
The Paris Agreement is an international treaty that seeks to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
Permeable pavement can be asphalt, concrete, or pavers, and let stormwater filter through and drain into the ground instead of collecting on hard surfaces or draining into the sewer system. It also traps suspended solids and filters pollutant from the water.
Personal Rapid Transit (PRT)
Also known as podcars, these vehicles are operated using a computer and can transport small groups of people using electric motors on light weight tracks. An example of this transportation system is in Masdar City, United Arab Emirates, which is made up of ten autonomous vehicles and is the only way of transportation throughout the city.
Construction materials, generally blocks or bricks, made from recycled plastic like materials.
Accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, or humans.
Progressive Era (1890-1920)
A period of social and political reform that developed in response to the pitfalls of industrialization and urbanization.
The study of the effects of a city’s environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.
quality of life
A broad multidimensional concept that usually includes subjective evaluations of both positive and negative aspects of life. Although health is one of the important domains of overall quality of life, there are other domains as well—for instance, jobs, housing, schools, the neighborhood. Aspects of culture, values, and spirituality are also key domains of overall quality of life that add to the complexity of its measurement. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
rails to trails
The conversion of a disused railway into a multi-use path.
raised cycle track
Bicycle lanes that are vertically separated from motor vehicle traffic.
One that has developed capacities to help absorb future shocks and stresses to its social, economic, and technical systems and infrastructures so as to still be able to maintain essentially the same functions, structures, systems, and identity.
see street, reversible
Romantic Environmental Paradigm
Draws attention to the destruction and domination of nature and calls for a more harmonious relationship between humans and the natural world.
see driverless car
sense of place
Either the intrinsic character of a place, or the meaning people give to it, but, more often, a mixture of both.
An arrow with a bicycle painted on vehicular lanes to indicated that cyclists have the right to use the road alongside vehicles.
A small garden that is planted on a street sidewalk to add biodiversity to an urban landscape. It helps slow runoff and is effective in storm-water management. A sidewalk garden also includes public seating to allow the public to spend time in the alley and have a natural setting to relax in.
see technological singularity
An urban development vision to integrate information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT) technology in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets. [see smart sustainable city]
A vital component of a smart city, incorporating transportation, online access, technology and community.
A smart container is one that can connect wirelessly to a network and relay various amounts of information to a database.
smart parking management
Parking lot sensors for drivers and property managers.
smart sustainable city
A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects. (ITU-T Focus Group)
Smart urbanism merges information and communications technologies; energy, resource and infrastructure technologies into networks that create sustainable, resilient, regenerative, urban-rural ecosystems with vibrant communities, thriving economies and biodiverse environments.
smart street lighting
In addition to LED technology, street lighting can motion-activated and gather environmental data.
Smart Waste Management System (SWMS)
A waste management system that incorporates the use of information sensors, wireless internet, GPS tracking, and efficiency programs to assess and calculate optimal disposal strategies.
The willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper.
A city actively using solar energy to reduce or replace fossil fuels.
Power obtained by harnessing the energy of the sun’s rays.
Street made to be able to perform more than one task or function at once or accessible for more than one function. Multi-functional streets provide green infrastructure, public space, greenspace, and other functions.
Street designed for more than just car traffic and which puts priority on public transportation, walking, and biking in a safe and efficient manner.
These streets change directions at different times and for different purposes to maximize efficiency.
The space that encompasses the road, sidewalk, strip, and sidewalk. Refers to the design and functionality of the area.
A smartphone application that contains all kinds of services such as texting, video and voice chatting, paying, social status sharing and other programs.
Designated areas of land in a city that keep traffic from going through the streets, making room for alternative usage of city streets.
Singaporean engineered mechanical tree that provides solar power to Singapore, cleans the air through air-ducts, and collects rainwater for conservatories. Additionally, these trees provide green space for animals, plants, and insects to live.
Avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance.
A city designed with consideration of environmental impact, inhabited by people dedicated towards minimization of required inputs of energy, water and food, and waste output of heat, air pollution – CO2, methane, and water pollution. [also eco-city]
Design practices that aim to reduce waste, pollution, and unnecessary consumption of energy and resources.
The organizing principle for meeting human development goals while at the same time sustaining the ability of natural systems to provide the natural resources and ecosystem services upon which the economy and society depends.
sustainable development goals
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), officially known as Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets between them.
A practice that prioritizes the needs of white individuals over communities of color. Argues that racism is embedded into social, political, institutional mechanisms within society.
The hypothesis that the invention of artificial super-intelligence will abruptly trigger runaway technological growth, resulting in unfathomable changes to human civilization. [singularity]
An approach that focuses on understanding the entirety of a model and not one individual component. Systems thinking looks to understand the interactions and relationships between components of the system.
The deliberate slowing of traffic in residential areas by building speed bumps or other obstructions
tragedy of the commons
Economic theory of a situation within a shared-resource system where individual users acting independently according to their own self-interest behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling that resource through their collective action.
The terms transition town, transition initiative and transition model refer to grassroot community projects that aim to increase self-sufficiency to reduce the potential effects of peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability.
Any form of human-powered transportation such as walking, biking, skating, and skiing
unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)
see autonomous vehicle
The practice of planting, processing, and distributing food in a town or city.
The scientific study of the relation of living organisms with each other and their surroundings in the context of an urban environment.
Comprehensive and integrated vision and action which leads to the resolution of urban problems and which seeks to bring about a lasting improvement in the economic, physical, social and environmental condition of an area that has been subject to change.
The ability to adapt to changing conditions and withstand and rapidly recover from disruption due to emergencies.
Regulation of urban development
An alternative form of farming stretching from the ground up, with the ability to be built in areas with limited soil space to grow crops. The indoor form of vertical gardens uses less water, less labor, and requires no sunlight due to LED lights.
Matter that would be converted into waste, but instead is converted into something more useful and beneficial
Incineration of municipal solid waste that then uses the energy (in the form of heat) to produce electricity and/or steam for heating.
Refers to the lack of diversity within environmental organizations, causing the needs of communities of color to not be represented.
Routes designed to facilitate the migration and free movement of wildlife in and around urban areas, i.e. green belts, land bridges. A method of compensation for habitat fragmentation.
The proper term for an animal-used land bridge or underpass. [“critter crossing”]
zero carbon city
A zero-carbon city runs entirely on renewable energy; it has no carbon footprint and will in this respect not cause harm to the planet.
zero energy building
see living building
zero energy city
A city with zero net energy consumption, meaning the total amount of energy used by the city on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created in the city.
zero waste city
A city that diverts all its waste from landfills into either reuse or recycling.
Hackathon (sometimes a combination of the words hack and marathon), sometimes referred to as codefest, is one one-day workshop in which IT specialists work intensively on a number of projects and projects.
It therefore has a predetermined goal and ends with some “tangible” output, respectively. component. It is typically programmed in a relaxed atmosphere in the same teams.