At REAL CORP 2019 IS THIS THE REAL WORLD? “Perfect Smart Cities” vs. “Real Emotional Cities”  in Karlsruhe on April 4th 2019, Iris presented her research on UrbanTech. Read the abstract below and download the paper here or have a look at the presentation slides.


In the past couple of years UrbanTech projects have raised an unprecedented amount of venture capital. They propose to combine IT, data and knowledge about the capacities of our built environment and offer their customers solutions in housing and energy use, design, construction and occupancy of buildings and transportation. Following individual business plans they are developed for predefined environments characterized by spatial scales and that can be modelled with easily available data. Those for profit projects are different from “Smart City Solutions”, which are a municipal service, target a city’s entire population and aim for an integration across urban systems. In their current stage of development “Smart City Solutions” have, however, struggled particularly to achieve the interoperability between urban systems and urban management platforms.

The objective of the paper is to explore the potential of insular but structured entrepreneurial efforts of UrbanTech projects to create a city data marketplace. A concern is father the usefulness of these data to promote integrated types of planning and design of built spaces, thus increasing the overall quality of the built environment and the transparency of processes. This paper presents an analysis of UrbanTech projects receiving incubation or acceleration grants for piloting or scaling business models based on digital information sharing with the objective of creating better or improving built environments. Focus is put on comparing the spatial scales covered by the projects, the type of data shared, the process of data collection, storage and management and the interoperability of platforms as well as the alliances with professionals contributing and profiting from sharing. A framework for analysis and understanding of venture capital financed urban services is crucial for urban administrators concerned with achieving integration of urban processes and systems as well as for entrepreneurs seeking to make their projects relevant in the long term.