Smart Ecosystems

Smart Cities refer to transdisciplinary change processes, with the goal to improve the quality of citizens life (i.e., making it more participative, happier, cognitive, efficient, networked, innovative and dynamic as well as safer, more sustainable and more resilient). Building on analog and digital as well as off- and online technologies and innovations (e.g., the Internet of Things, artificial and computational intelligence), a smart city should offer its citizens the highest possible quality of life using as few resources as possible. In collaboration with our ecosystem partners on smart citizens, our holistic projects foster public private people partnership models.

  • Streetwise

    With the overall goal of improving living spaces and urban planning, Streetwise is a project aiming at understanding people’s perceptions of the living space. Crowdsourcing campaigns are used to collect data about people’s perceptions of the environment (e.g., the sense of safety and the livability of a certain place), and some advanced machine learning techniques are applied to understand and reproduce human assessments. The resulting model allows a capillary mapping of the perceptions of several aspects related to the life of a certain area, as well as the evaluation of planned (simulated) environments.

    See for more information.

    Human-IST collaborators: Jhonny Pincay, Moreno ColomboEdy Portmann

    Partners/ External collaborators (companies): Metropolitan Konferenz Zürich, IVO Innenentwicklung AG, Datalets, cividi, Spatial Transformation Laboratories ETHZSwisscom

  • Recommendation Systems to Optimize the Generation of Public Policy with Academic Participation

    This project proposes the creation of an intelligent platform that allows the agents responsible for generating public policy to establish communication with the academic sector in Ecuador. The system will have two types of users, public sector and academic sector. The former may propose projects or consultations directed at the academic sector to improve decision-making. The proposed system will learn from the profiles of users (public administration and academic sector), their interactions, but also from their activities. In this way, the system will be able to identify which topics, groups, articles and users, among others, are closest to the preferences of an active user.

    The expectation is that this project will have an impact on those responsible for generating public policy, by providing information and resources for decision-making through informed knowledge and feedback from the academic sector, all with the idea of strengthening democracy using new technologies. Furthermore, the project is expected to expand its use in other contexts and regions in the coming years, strengthening relations between the public, private, and academic sectors of Ecuador and other countries.

    Human-IST collaborators: Luis Terán, Edy Portmann

    Partners/ External collaborators (companies): Secretariat of High Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT)

  • Cognitive Urban Planning

    Urbanization of cities has been considered as a prominent driver of development and poverty reduction. This carries out some issues related to the responsibilities of the government, since it involves the mobilization of the community, which turns out that it is necessary to establish all levels of human settlements such as: Small rural communities, towns, small cities, intermediate and metropolis. Today, sustainable development has become the center of urban planning. The urban planning process is a collective exercise that must involve all actors, such as citizens, civil society organizations, the public and private sectors, multilateral organizations, and academia. Furthermore, this planning process must be iterative and in real time.

    This proposal explores the impact of Collective Intelligence (CI), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Cognitive Systems (SC) as a means of support in decision-making for local governments (Municipalities), to face the challenges proposed by the United Nations in the New Urban Agenda 2017 on the issue of access to housing. In addition, it validates the influence of IC, GIS and SC in the decision-making process in each of the actors in the urban planning process. The exploratory and iterative research approach will be applied, which will allow gathering the criteria of the actors, as well as, building and testing a prototype of collective work software in real time.

    Some results that are expected to be obtained will improve the decision-making process in urban planning, as well as the awareness and participation of citizens in the construction of the city. Specifically, some expected effects on decision-making would be: first, to help citizens select the best homes according to their individual profiles, providing them with real-time advice and recommendations on urban status and housing; second, to support the decision-making process of government institutions (municipalities) towards inclusive urban planning; third, to promote the awareness of the actors on the impact of CI in the urban planning process. Finally, the data collected by the project will be available for research purposes, in areas such as: human-computer interaction, recommendation systems, opinion mining, cognitive cities, pattern recognition, among others. This project will establish a base frame of reference that allows the scientific community and industry to uncover the potential of IC, GIS and SC as a means to tackle the problem of urbanization, a problem declared as a global concern by the United Nations.


    Human-IST collaborators: Luis Terán, Edy Portmann

    Partners/ External collaborators (companies): Secretariat of High Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (SENESCYT)

  • Scaling smart city Projects - from Individual pilots towards a Common strategy of industry Emergence (SPICE)

    The SPICE project is a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) project aimed at creating means of accelerating the scaling and actuation of human-centered smart city solutions in Switzerland. This can as a consequence enhance innovation, efficiency, social welfare and quality of urban life. The exploration of ways to include citizens' needs and opinions in different stages of the development and upscaling of smart city solutions will be one of the central topics to be addressed by SPICE. The project is being carried out in both an inter- and transdisciplinary way by the Human-IST Institute in collaboration with the University of St.Gallen and the University of Applied Sciences Zurich, as well as practice-partners, including companies and city administrations.


    Human-IST collaborators: Luis Terán, Moreno Colombo, Edy Portmann

    Partners/ External collaborators (companies): Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), Swiss Post, City of Lucerne, City of Thun, Smart City Hub