For our Leuven Smart City & Open Data Kick-Off event on the 24th of April 2018, we brought together a diverse panel with the Data Science Leuven community. The event was moderated by Data Science Leuven’s Linde Vloeberghs & Pieter Haeck, media & technology journalist at De Tijd, and visually harvested by Els Vrints.
We discussed high-level where we are in Leuven today when it comes to being a smart city, what the next steps and the challenges are, and then had a look at the challenges of air quality and parking in Leuven, and how data can help to solve them.
Interested in helping us to solve these challenges and make Leuven a better and smarter city? Join us at the Leuven Smart City & Open Data Hackathon on 8-9th June 2018!
There is a data science as well as a business track. Questions? Want to participate? Want to help organising? Contact us at email@example.com and register on meetup!
Our panel consisted of members from the City of Leuven (Joris Voets), Leuven MindGate (Jo De Wachter), Smart Flanders – IMEC/VUB (Nils Walravens), Digipolis Antwerp (Christophe Marrecau), Flemish Parliament (Lorin Parys), Agoria (Ingrid Reynaert), Engie M2M Sigfox (Dirk Indigne), LCIE – CirculAid (Lucas Vanlaer) and LeuvenAir (Maarten Reyniers).
Stay tuned for individual posts, interviews, podcasts, … with the panel members and many more!
After Linde’s introduction on the Leuven Smart City & Open Data track, Jo from Leuven MindGate gave us an overview of the focus domains for Leuven as a smart city, identified by the City of Leuven: flows, smarter/digital service, health&care, experience for both citizens and tourists, and talent.
In a first panel round, we discussed high-level where we are in Leuven today when it comes to being a smart city.
- The city’s challenges today are mainly internal education and data governance, as today data and people are working mainly in silo’s. Digipolis Antwerp’s Christophe shared his insights on how to start working towards a proper data architecture and governance in the context of a city.
- The city’s data department is currently in transition (previously the GIS department), and is focusing on internal staff training and a plan towards an open data platform.
- The first data that will become available would be GIS data (geo data) and data from the city’s departments of Tourism and Sports.
- The city works together with Smart Flanders (the Smart Flanders’ Open Data Charter can be found here) on a few smart city data pilots around parking, accessibility and crowds in the city.
Challenges for Leuven Smart City today
After looking at the challenges the city of Leuven is facing in the journey towards a smart city, we discussed two specific topics and bottom-up projects.
First we had a look at air quality in Leuven:
- Maarten presented the LeuvenAir project, encouraging citizens to build their own air quality sensors measuring particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), to monitor air quality at high spatial and temporal resolution in Leuven and complement the official VMM network. The project is part of Civic Labs Leuven, a chapter from Open Knowledge Belgium, and the Luftdaten.info project, and opens up all the data. The sensors mainly show the impact of fire: wood burning, house fire, smog, …
- At the same time, CurieuzeNeuzen is a Flemish project measuring the air quality Flanders in May. They measure NO2, mainly showing the impact of traffic on air quality.
- The city of Leuven is also doing an air quality project together with Option sensors in public lightning. The idea is to use the data of these high-quality sensors also to calibrate the low-cost sensors of the LeuvenAir project.
- At our hackathon in June, the plan is to combine at least these 3 data sets and develop an application useful for the city, the citizens and relevant third parties when it comes to air quality.
Topic 1 – Air Quality in Leuven
As a second deep-dive topic, we discussed parking in Leuven:
- Lucas presented the CirculAid project: a Big Data-approach to parking in Leuven, using existing data sets to guide you in your parking hassles. CirculAid is one of Lcie’s Product Innovation Projects (PiP): those are interdisciplinary project courses at KULeuven, where students try to solve real-life problems in an innovate way. CirculAid is a project of Lcie in collaboration with the city of Leuven and Smart Flanders.
- CirculAid uses both historical data and real-time datasets – amongst others the real-time parking data set made available by the Smart Flanders data pilot around parking – and takes the new circulation plan in the city into account. The students developed a demo tool, suggesting the top 3 places to park based on your end destination and the above data.
- The challenge now is to integrate these tools and improve the city’s existing tools. At our hackathon in June, the plan is to further develop this great project in collaboration with the students – TBC!
During the panel discussion, the question ‘is Leuven too small to be a leading smart city?’ came up. The panel concluded that Leuven has all it takes to become a true smart city, if and only if we start working together, dare to see Leuven as ‘a living lab‘ and build an ecosystem around Leuven Smart City, where all the talented people that Leuven gathers are involved – not to forget about the students!
Data Science Leuven‘s mission is to build a community around data in Leuven. Our aim is to connect people and organisations, to inspire and stimulate cross-pollination, and to foster collaborations and partnerships between the city, companies, data experts, academia, entrepreneurs and citizen enthusiasts around data projects in Leuven. With the challenges concerning smart city Leuven is facing today, we see a lot of opportunities for the community to help Leuven become a better and smarter city. If you see a role for yourself or your organisation in this Leuven Smart City & Open Data track, please let us know so we can connect you to the right people!
Interested in helping us to solve these challenges and make Leuven a better and smarter city? Reach out, or join us at our Leuven Smart City & Open Data Hackathon on 8-9th June 2018. There is a data science as well as a business track – go ahead and register on our meetup page!
Questions? Want to participate? Want to help organising? Want to do an interview about your organisation and what it can mean for Leuven as smart city? Contact Linde at firstname.lastname@example.org!