Introduction to the workshop


the accepted contributions are now available for download -> link

and for discussion on LinkedIn -> link




Date of the workshop: 16  September 2014


Smart Cities promise to preserve and improve the wellbeing of society [1, 2], exploiting information and communication technology (ICT) as an infrastructural backbone to influence and improve key factors like mobility, environment, people, quality of life and governance [3, 4]. Going beyond top-down popular functionalist approaches a new vision driven by a 'person centered in place' design approach is emerging. In this approach, learning is not only a way to train an adequate human capital but becomes one of the driving forces of the “smartness” and well being of a community. Unavoidably the underlying and ubiquitous techno-ecosystems - whose embedded intelligence, sensitivity and responsiveness surround the individuals - challenge the future of learning and call for a redefinition of spaces, contents, processes, skills and assessment approaches.
In this scenario:
a) The interaction process with the environment is moving from the metaphor “being able to use” towards the metaphor “actively influence”; digital consumers are going to transform into “digital enactive” [6-8] producing an increasingly amount of data that actively contributes to the re-definition of places and spaces;
b) Learning is going to transform into a life long process for knowledge, skill, and expertise acquisition and, additionally, for strengthening peoples meta-cognition abilities, which are related to a genuine self-regulation [9] in order to consciously determine its trajectory within the new techno-ecosystems;
c) A new set of personal and interpersonal skills is required to avoid possible new 'divides' [10] and to allow to adequately developing the above mentioned processes in people and in society.
d) The representation and usage of the main sources of knowledge has to change to enable new forms of learning. The traditional medial representation, e.g. book (i.e. unit of text) or film (i.e. unit of audio-video material), will have to act as a seed for a new open structure which will be customizable and will provide the access to data that is available everywhere, but might be subject of permanent extension and change.

This workshop aims at tackling the grand challenge of designing for learning in Smart Cities following a holistic and multidisciplinary approach and addressing issues connected to the (re-) definition of learning content, processes, competencies, and spaces.


[1] S. Ho Lee, J. Hoon Han, Y. Taik Leem, and T. Yigitcanlar, 'Towards ubiquitous city: concept, planning, and experiences in the Republic of Korea,' Knowledge-Based Urban Development: Planning and Applications in the Information Era, pp. 148-169, 2008.
[2] R. Giffinger, H. Gudrun, “Smart cities ranking: an effective instrument for the positioning of cities?”, ACE: Architecture, City & Environ. 4 (12), pp. 7–25, 2010.
[3] R. G. Hollands, “Will the real smart city please stand up?, City 12 (3), pp. 303-320, 2008
[4] C. Giovannella, “Is complexity tameble ? Toward a design for the experience in a complex world”, IxD&A, N.15, pp. 18-30, 2012.
[5] M. Prensky, M., Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants On the Horizon. MCB University Press, 2001
[6] J. Bruner, Processes of cognitive growth: Infancy. Worcester, MA: Clark University Press, 1968
[7] F. Varela, F. Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem. Journal of consciousness studies, 3, pp. 330-350, 1996
[8] F. Varela, E. Thompson, E. Rosch, The embodied mind: Cognitive science and human experience. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993
[9] B.J. Zimmerman, Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: An overview. Educational Psychologist, 25, pp. 3-17, 1990
[10] C. Giovannella, V. Baraniello, Smart City Learning. IJDLDC, N.3, pp. 1, 15, 2012