Dublin’s community-centred smart project

In the race across Europe for cities to become “smarter,” Ireland’s capital is more interested in the quality of life for its citizens than boasting the latest smart gadget. As part of the Smart Dublin strategy, the city is looking to provide better services, improve economic activity, and increase collaboration and engagement—and the citizens are the key to achieving these goals. Four local authorities are teaming up with the community to solve some of the city’s more puzzling challenges, transforming Dublin into an even more attractive place to live and work for generations to come.- Bruno De Man 


Crowd-sourced solutions

Dublin is using crowdsourcing as one of its most resourceful strategies to solve city challenges. The city recently unveiled a competition asking for proposals for low-cost solutions for illegal dumping as a way to tackle flooding and blocked gullies while improving wayfinding across the region. The reward: winners will see their ideas come to life with up to €600,000 from allocated funding. This isn’t the first challenge of its kind the city has introduced, either. In 2016, Dublin partnered with Enterprise Ireland to address concerns such as bicycle safety and security, increasing sustainable transportation modes like cycling in the process. The idea was an instant hit, with 98 companies showing interest, 23 proposals submitted and five companies receiving funding. Now, these crowd-sourced solutions are testing out projects like IoT tracking to recover stolen bikes. According to Professor Rob Kitchin, ERC Advanced Investigator with the Programmable City project: “The Smart Dublin vision is a mix of data-driven, networked infrastructure, fostering sustainable economic growth and entrepreneurship, and citizen-centric initiatives, with a particular focus on improving city services.” Here are a few of the other solutions Dublin has introduced thanks to open data and citizen collaboration:

  • Intelligent transport systems: Adaptive traffic signaling and public transport prioritization are helping the city avoid traffic congestion.
  • IoT test beds: One of Europe’s largest stadiums, Croke Park, is now the world’s first carbon-neutral stadium, where companies like Intel and Microsoft are testing IoT-based technology.
  • Sensor technology: A system of low-cost sensors (developed in partnership with Kingspan and DCU Water Institute) is monitoring local weather and river water levels in real time, which will offer more efficient reactions to flooding. In addition, noise-monitoring sensors developed by local company Sonitus Systems are keeping neighborhood noise levels in check.

Dublin’s “smart” approach is transforming the city into a living test bed for innovation, where citizens have the chance to collaborate and weigh in on solutions developed right in their own backyard, helping shape the face and future of the capital.