Novel Intelligence Functions for Data–driven Smart Sustainable Urbanism: Utilizing Complexity Sciences in Fashioning Powerful Forms of Simulations Models

  • Simon Elias BibriEmail author
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)


We are moving into an era where instrumentation, datafication, and computation are routinely pervading the very fabric of the city as a complex system and dynamically changing environment, and vast troves of contextual and actionable data are being generated and used to control, manage, regulate, and organize the urban life. At the heart of this emerging era of data-driven urbanism is a computational understanding of urban systems and processes that reduces urban life to a set of logic, calculative, and algorithmic rules and procedures. Such understanding entails drawing together, interlinking, and analyzing urban big data to provide a more holistic and integrated view and synoptic intelligence of the city. This is being increasingly directed for improving, advancing, and maintaining the contribution of both sustainable cities and smart cities to the goals of sustainable development. Indeed, a new era is presently unfolding wherein smart sustainable urbanism is increasingly becoming data-driven. In light of this, smart sustainable urbanism has become even more complex with the very technologies being used to make sense of and deal with it as involving special conundrums, wicked problems, intractable issues, and complex challenges associated mainly with sustainability and urbanization. Consequently, to tackle smart sustainable cities requires, I contend, innovative solutions and sophisticated approaches as to the way they can be monitored, understood, and analyzed so as to be effectively operated, managed, planned, designed, developed, and governed in line with the long-term goals of sustainability. Therefore, this chapter examines and discusses the approach to data-driven smart sustainable urbanism in terms of computerized decision support and making, intelligence functions, simulation models, and optimization and prediction methods. It also documents and highlights the potential of the integration of these advanced technologies for facilitating the synergy between the operational functioning, planning, design, and development of smart sustainable cities. I argue that data-driven urbanism is the mode of production for smart sustainable cities, which are accordingly becoming knowable, tractable, and controllable in new dynamic ways thanks to urban science and complexity science. I conclude that the upcoming developments and innovations in big data computing and the underpinning technologies, coupled with the evolving deluge of urban data, hold great potential for enhancing and advancing the different practices of smart sustainable urbanism. This work contributes to bringing data-analytic thinking and practice to smart sustainable urbanism, in addition to drawing special attention to the crucial role and enormous benefits of the emerging paradigm of big data computing as to transforming the future form of such urbanism.


Data-driven smart sustainable urbanism Smart sustainable cities Big data analytics Decision making Decision support Intelligence functions Simulation models Optimization and prediction methods Complexity science Complex systems 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Department of Urban Planning and DesignNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway

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