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Smart Cities, Volume 7, Issue 2 (April 2024) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This paper introduces a multi-objective, mixed-integer linear programming model for urban-industrial symbiosis that integrates anaerobic digestion, cogeneration, photovoltaic, and hydrogen production technologies. Using the Bayesian Best–Worst method, it evaluates sustainability aspects, optimizing industrial plant locations based on economic, environmental, and social parameters. The model includes sensitivity analysis to assess the impact of variable changes on outcomes and explores Pareto fronts to identify optimal trade-offs among conflicting objectives. Demonstrated via a case study in Italy, the model enhances energy and hydrogen production, reduces carbon footprints, and supports job creation. View this paper
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27 pages, 5191 KiB  
Article
Visionary Nature-Based Solutions Evaluated through Social Return on Investment: The Case Study of an Italian Urban Green Space
by Elisa-Elena Vasiliu, Sara Torabi Moghadam, Adriano Bisello and Patrizia Lombardi
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 946-972; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020040 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 908
Abstract
Cities are facing challenges in adaptation to, and mitigation of climate change. Urban Green Spaces (UGS) have a pivotal role in this transformative process and are almost always coupled with digital tools. The deployment of digital solutions, encompassing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) [...] Read more.
Cities are facing challenges in adaptation to, and mitigation of climate change. Urban Green Spaces (UGS) have a pivotal role in this transformative process and are almost always coupled with digital tools. The deployment of digital solutions, encompassing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IoT), seeks to increase awareness of UGS benefits across a wider range of users. This study is part of a Horizon 2020 project that aims to measure the social impact of Visionary Solutions (VS), i.e., combined Nature Based Solutions (NBSs) and Digital Solutions (DSs), in UGSs located in seven European cities. The project proposes a novel application of the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to forecast the impact of VS implementation in the case of an Italian demonstration. The three main objectives are: (i) establishing a causal chain for transformation through the Theory of Change (ToC) tool; (ii) quantifying the expected change by developing two monetary alternatives; and (iii) comparing these alternatives to assess which is more influential in stakeholders’ decision-making. The authors reviewed a range of financial proxies of social outcomes from other SROI case studies. The result of the Italian demonstration is that, for each euro invested in project solutions, two euros of social return are generated. The analysis reveals these monetized intangible outcomes. Full article
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14 pages, 3919 KiB  
Article
An Update on Passenger Vehicle Speeds at Roundabouts
by Enrique D. Saldivar-Carranza, Myles W. Overall and Darcy M. Bullock
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 932-945; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020039 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 586
Abstract
The speed at which vehicles navigate through roundabouts is information that needs to be considered in the intersection design process, simulation model development, and policy implementation. The last published data on speed profiles by distance was the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Roundabouts: an [...] Read more.
The speed at which vehicles navigate through roundabouts is information that needs to be considered in the intersection design process, simulation model development, and policy implementation. The last published data on speed profiles by distance was the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Roundabouts: an Informational Guide report, published in 2000, which pre-dates the ability to collect large volumes of connected vehicle (CV) data. The objective of this paper is to use a large sample of CV data to provide empirical analysis on vehicle speeds at roundabouts and to determine if previous guidelines are still applicable. Over 15 million speed records sampled at 56 roundabouts in Carmel, Indiana, from February to May 2023 during weekdays are categorized by turn type (i.e., right, through, or left) and by roundabout section (i.e., approach, circulation, or departure). Speed profiles and distributions for each category are analyzed by four different time-of-day (TOD) periods. The speed distribution analysis by roundabout section shows that 85% of vehicles travel under 34, 22, and 35 miles per hour (mph) on the approach, circulation, and departure zones, respectively. The analysis by turn type indicates that vehicles making left turns consistently maintain speeds below 20 mph when navigating inside roundabouts. In contrast, vehicles proceeding straight through or turning right accelerate soon after entering. Regardless of turn-type or TOD periods, most vehicles depart the roundabouts at similar speeds around 35 mph. A comparison between sampled and theoretical speed profiles reveals that while a state-of-the-practice model accurately estimates vehicle accelerations and decelerations near roundabouts, it does not account for reduced speeds before circulation begins and, in some cases, underestimates values on the circulation and departure sections. The results presented in this paper can be used to update current knowledge on vehicle speeds at roundabouts. Furthermore, local and state transportation agencies can use the presented technique to periodically update travel speed knowledge for their roundabouts where CV data or detection technology to derive traveling speeds is available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Smart Transportation)
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19 pages, 928 KiB  
Article
Gauging Public Acceptance of Conditionally Automated Vehicles in the United States
by Antonios Saravanos, Eleftheria K. Pissadaki, Wayne S. Singh and Donatella Delfino
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 913-931; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020038 - 12 Apr 2024
Viewed by 704
Abstract
Public acceptance of conditionally automated vehicles is a crucial step in the realization of smart cities. Prior research in Europe has shown that the factors of hedonic motivation, social influence, and performance expectancy, in decreasing order of importance, influence acceptance. Moreover, a generally [...] Read more.
Public acceptance of conditionally automated vehicles is a crucial step in the realization of smart cities. Prior research in Europe has shown that the factors of hedonic motivation, social influence, and performance expectancy, in decreasing order of importance, influence acceptance. Moreover, a generally positive acceptance of the technology was reported. However, there is a lack of information regarding the public acceptance of conditionally automated vehicles in the United States. In this study, we carried out a web-based experiment where participants were provided information regarding the technology and then completed a questionnaire on their perceptions. The collected data was analyzed using PLS-SEM to examine the factors that may lead to public acceptance of the technology in the United States. Our findings showed that social influence, performance expectancy, effort expectancy, hedonic motivation, and facilitating conditions determine conditionally automated vehicle acceptance. Additionally, certain factors were found to influence the perception of how useful the technology is, the effort required to use it, and the facilitating conditions for its use. By integrating the insights gained from this study, stakeholders can better facilitate the adoption of autonomous vehicle technology, contributing to safer, more efficient, and user-friendly transportation systems in the future that help realize the vision of the smart city. Full article
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33 pages, 5311 KiB  
Article
A Spatiotemporal Comparative Analysis of Docked and Dockless Shared Micromobility Services
by Sara Hassam, Nuno Alpalhão and Miguel de Castro Neto
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 880-912; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020037 - 5 Apr 2024
Viewed by 459
Abstract
Sustainable urban mobility is an imperative concern in contemporary cities, and shared micromobility systems, such as docked bike-sharing, dockless bike-sharing, and dockless e-scooter-sharing, are recognized as essential contributors to sustainable behaviors in cities, both complementing and enhancing public transport options. Most of the [...] Read more.
Sustainable urban mobility is an imperative concern in contemporary cities, and shared micromobility systems, such as docked bike-sharing, dockless bike-sharing, and dockless e-scooter-sharing, are recognized as essential contributors to sustainable behaviors in cities, both complementing and enhancing public transport options. Most of the literature on this subject predominantly focuses on individual assessments of these systems, overlooking the comparative analysis necessary for a comprehensive understanding. This study aims to bridge this gap by conducting a spatiotemporal analysis of two different shared micromobility modes of transportation, docked bike-sharing systems and dockless e-scooter-sharing systems operating in the municipality of Lisbon. The analysis is further segmented into arrivals and departures on weekdays and weekends. Additionally, this study explores the impact of sociodemographic factors, the population’s commuting modes, and points of interest (POIs) on the demand for both docked bike-sharing and dockless e-scooter-sharing. Multiscale Geographically Weighted Regression (MGWR) models are employed to estimate the influence of these factors on system usage in different parishes in Lisbon. Comparative analysis reveals that the temporal distribution of trips is similar for both docked bike-sharing and dockless e-scooter-sharing systems on weekdays and weekends. However, differences in spatial distribution between the two systems were observed. The MGWR results indicate that the number of individuals commuting by bike in each parish has a positive effect on docked bike-sharing, while it exerts a negative influence on dockless e-scooter-sharing. Also, the number of commercial points of interest (POIs) for weekday arrivals positively affects the usage of both systems. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of shared micromobility patterns in urban environments and can aid cities in developing effective strategies that not only promote and increase the utilization of these shared micromobility systems but also contribute to sustainable urban mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multidisciplinary Research on Smart Cities)
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21 pages, 5762 KiB  
Article
Optimizing Energy Consumption in Agricultural Greenhouses: A Smart Energy Management Approach
by Fatemeh Jamshidi, Mohammad Ghiasi, Mehran Mehrandezh, Zhanle Wang and Raman Paranjape
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 859-879; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020036 - 28 Mar 2024
Viewed by 953
Abstract
Efficient energy management is crucial for optimizing greenhouse (GH) operations and promoting sustainability. This paper presents a novel multi-objective optimization approach tailored for GH energy management, aiming to minimize grid energy consumption while maximizing battery state of charge (SOC) within a [...] Read more.
Efficient energy management is crucial for optimizing greenhouse (GH) operations and promoting sustainability. This paper presents a novel multi-objective optimization approach tailored for GH energy management, aiming to minimize grid energy consumption while maximizing battery state of charge (SOC) within a specified time frame. The optimization problem integrates decision variables such as network power, battery power, and battery energy, subject to constraints based on battery capacity and initial energy, along with minimum and maximum energy from the battery storage system. Through the comparison of a smart energy management system (EMS) with traditional optimization algorithms, the study evaluates its efficiency. Key hyperparameters essential for the optimization problem, including plateau time, prediction time, and optimization time, are determined using the ellipse optimization method. Treating the GH as a microgrid, the analysis encompasses energy management indicators and loads. A simulation conducted via Simulink in MATLAB software (R2021b) demonstrates a significant enhancement, with the smart EMS achieving a more than 50% reduction in the objective function compared to conventional EMS. Moreover, the EMS exhibits robust performance across variations in the load power and irradiation profile. Under partial shading conditions, the EMS maintains adaptability, with a maximum objective function increase of 0.35553%. Aligning the output power of photovoltaic (PV) systems with real-world conditions further validates the EMS’s effectiveness in practical scenarios. The findings underscore the efficiency of the smart EMS in optimizing energy consumption within GH environments, offering promising avenues for sustainable energy management practices. This research contributes to advancing energy optimization strategies in agricultural settings, thereby fostering resource efficiency and environmental stewardship. Full article
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23 pages, 13559 KiB  
Article
Multifunctional Models in Digital and Physical Twinning of the Built Environment—A University Campus Case Study
by Genda Chen, Ibrahim Alomari, Woubishet Zewdu Taffese, Zhenhua Shi, Mohammad Hossein Afsharmovahed, Tarutal Ghosh Mondal and Son Nguyen
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 836-858; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020035 - 26 Mar 2024
Viewed by 796
Abstract
The digital twin (DT) concept has been developed for a single function in previous studies. This study aims to empower DTs with a layered integration of multifunctional models in the built environment. It develops a framework of DT modules in three hierarchical tiers: [...] Read more.
The digital twin (DT) concept has been developed for a single function in previous studies. This study aims to empower DTs with a layered integration of multifunctional models in the built environment. It develops a framework of DT modules in three hierarchical tiers: region, asset, and system; defines a new concept of the degree of digital twinning (DODT) to the real world by the number of models enabled by a common DT platform; and enables spatiotemporal analysis in multiple scales to couple nonstructural with structural building components and connect the built environment to planning constructions. While the asset and system DTs focus on the lifecycle management of buildings and infrastructure systems, the region DT addresses diverse modeling approaches for a comprehensive management of the built environment as demonstrated on a university campus. The DODT allows the value-driven digital replication of a physical twin at different levels. For the campus case study, the DODT is eight, for building and infrastructure planning, condition assessment of building envelopes, construction management for efficiency and quality, damage/cost scenario studies under earthquake events, energy harvesting efficiency, environmental planning for flood zone susceptibility, master planning for green space development, and security protocol development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Smart Buildings)
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30 pages, 3670 KiB  
Review
Exploring the Symbiotic Relationship between Digital Transformation, Infrastructure, Service Delivery, and Governance for Smart Sustainable Cities
by Dillip Kumar Das
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 806-835; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020034 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1281
Abstract
Infrastructure, service delivery, governance, and digital transformation stand as indispensable cornerstones, playing pivotal roles in the establishment of intelligent and sustainable urban centers. While the extant literature has underscored the significance of each of these elements, their interconnected and symbiotic relationship demands a [...] Read more.
Infrastructure, service delivery, governance, and digital transformation stand as indispensable cornerstones, playing pivotal roles in the establishment of intelligent and sustainable urban centers. While the extant literature has underscored the significance of each of these elements, their interconnected and symbiotic relationship demands a more profound exploration. Grounded in a systematic review of the existing literature and relevant case studies, this paper explored the intricate interplay between digital transformation, infrastructure development, service delivery, and governance in contemporary society, all in the pursuit of cultivating smart sustainable cities. It contends that by collaboratively working together, these four pillars possess the transformative potential to turn cities into smart and sustainable cities. Digital transformation emerges as the catalyst, propelling innovation and efficiency, while infrastructure forms the bedrock for the seamless delivery of services. Effective governance, in turn, ensures alignment with the evolving needs of citizens. In essence, this study underscores the transformative power of combined action, asserting that the interdependent elements within can transform cities beyond merely having smart or sustainable status to become smart sustainable cities. This paradigm shift harmonizes technological advancements with the foundational goals of sustainable development, steering towards a holistic and inclusive urban future. Full article
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20 pages, 6477 KiB  
Article
Integrating Multi-Criteria Decision Models in Smart Urban Planning: A Case Study of Architectural and Urban Design Competitions
by Tomaž Berčič, Marko Bohanec and Lucija Ažman Momirski
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 786-805; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020033 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 795
Abstract
The focus of this study is to integrate the DEX (Decision EXpert) decision-modeling method in architectural and urban design (A & UD) competitions. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of integrating the DEX (Decision EXpert) decision-modeling method into the evaluation process of [...] Read more.
The focus of this study is to integrate the DEX (Decision EXpert) decision-modeling method in architectural and urban design (A & UD) competitions. This study aims to assess the effectiveness of integrating the DEX (Decision EXpert) decision-modeling method into the evaluation process of A & UD competitions to enhance decision-making transparency, objectivity, and efficiency. By using symbolic values in decision models, the approach offers a more user-friendly alternative to the conventional jury decision-making process. The practical application of the DEX method is demonstrated in the Rhinoceros 3D environment to show its effectiveness in evaluating A & UD competition project solutions related to the development of the smart city. The results indicate that the DEX method, with its hierarchical and symbolic values, significantly improves the simplicity of the evaluation process in A & UD competitions, aligning it with the objectives of the smart cities. This method provides an efficient, accessible, and viable alternative to other multi-criteria decision-making approaches. This study importantly contributes to the field of architectural decision making by merging qualitative multi-criteria decision models into the CAD environment, thus supporting more informed, objective, and transparent decision-making processes in the planning and development of smart cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Artificial Intelligence Models, Tools and Applications)
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14 pages, 3336 KiB  
Article
Reduced Complexity Sequential Digital Predistortion Technique for 5G Applications
by Moustafa Abdelnaby, Reem Alnajjar, Souheil Bensmida and Oualid Hammi
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 772-785; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020032 - 18 Mar 2024
Viewed by 666
Abstract
Wireless communication infrastructure is a key enabling technology for smart cities. This paper investigates a novel technique to enhance the performance of 5G base stations by addressing the compensation of nonlinear distortions caused by radiofrequency power amplifiers. For this purpose, a sequential digital [...] Read more.
Wireless communication infrastructure is a key enabling technology for smart cities. This paper investigates a novel technique to enhance the performance of 5G base stations by addressing the compensation of nonlinear distortions caused by radiofrequency power amplifiers. For this purpose, a sequential digital predistortion approach that uses twin nonlinear two-box structure along with reduced sampling rates in the feedback path is proposed to implement a linearization system. Such a system is shown to have a correction bandwidth that exceeds the bandwidth of the feedback path. This is achieved by synthesizing the predistortion function in two successive characterization iterations. Both characterizations use the same hardware, which has a reduced sampling rate in the feedback path. Hence, the proposed predistorter scheme does not require any additional hardware compared to standard schemes. Moreover, coarse delay alignment is performed while identifying the memory polynomial function in order to further reduce the computational complexity of the proposed system. Experimental results using an inverse Class-F power amplifier demonstrate the ability of the proposed predistorter to achieve a correction bandwidth of 100 MHz with a feedback sampling rate as low as 25 MSa/s. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy and ICT)
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14 pages, 3228 KiB  
Article
Video Compression Prototype for Autonomous Vehicles
by Yair Wiseman
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 758-771; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020031 - 8 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 795
Abstract
There are several standards for representing and compressing video information. These standards are adapted to the vision of the human eye. Autonomous cars see and perceive objects in a different way than humans and, therefore, the common standards are not suitable for them. [...] Read more.
There are several standards for representing and compressing video information. These standards are adapted to the vision of the human eye. Autonomous cars see and perceive objects in a different way than humans and, therefore, the common standards are not suitable for them. In this paper, we will present a way of adjusting the common standards to be appropriate for the vision of autonomous cars. The focus of this paper will be on the H.264 format, but a similar order can be adapted to other standards as well. Full article
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23 pages, 2546 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Waste-to-Energy and Hydrogen Production through Urban–Industrial Symbiosis: A Multi-Objective Optimisation Model Incorporating a Bayesian Best-Worst Method
by Alessandro Neri, Maria Angela Butturi, Francesco Lolli and Rita Gamberini
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 735-757; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020030 - 28 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1422
Abstract
A surging demand for sustainable energy and the urgency to lower greenhouse gas emissions is driving industrial systems towards more eco-friendly and cost-effective models. Biogas from agricultural and municipal organic waste is gaining momentum as a renewable energy source. Concurrently, the European Hydrogen [...] Read more.
A surging demand for sustainable energy and the urgency to lower greenhouse gas emissions is driving industrial systems towards more eco-friendly and cost-effective models. Biogas from agricultural and municipal organic waste is gaining momentum as a renewable energy source. Concurrently, the European Hydrogen Strategy focuses on green hydrogen for decarbonising the industrial and transportation sectors. This paper presents a multi-objective network design model for urban–industrial symbiosis, incorporating anaerobic digestion, cogeneration, photovoltaic, and hydrogen production technologies. Additionally, a Bayesian best-worst method is used to evaluate the weights of the sustainability aspects by decision-makers, integrating these into the mathematical model. The model optimises industrial plant locations considering economic, environmental, and social parameters, including the net present value, energy consumption, and carbon footprint. The model’s functionalities are demonstrated through a real-world case study based in Emilia Romagna, Italy. It is subject to sensitivity analysis to evaluate how changes in the inputs affect the outcomes and highlights feasible trade-offs through the exploration of the ϵ-constraint. The findings demonstrate that the model substantially boosts energy and hydrogen production. It is not only economically viable but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with fossil fuels and landfilling. Additionally, it contributes to job creation. This research has significant implications, with potential future studies intended to focus on system resilience, plant location optimisation, and sustainability assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cities and Industry 4.0)
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23 pages, 2059 KiB  
Review
Contextualizing the Smart City in Africa: Balancing Human-Centered and Techno-Centric Perspectives for Smart Urban Performance
by Nessrine Moumen, Hassan Radoine, Kh Md Nahiduzzaman and Hassane Jarar Oulidi
Smart Cities 2024, 7(2), 712-734; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7020029 - 27 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1795
Abstract
The continuous growth of urban populations and the complexities of their current management in Africa have driven local governments to explore new technologies to optimize their urban and territorial performance. These governments and related stakeholders’ resort to the term “smart city” to orient [...] Read more.
The continuous growth of urban populations and the complexities of their current management in Africa have driven local governments to explore new technologies to optimize their urban and territorial performance. These governments and related stakeholders’ resort to the term “smart city” to orient the current urban planning policies and practices to be more efficient and adequate. Nevertheless, the issue that remains is how to contextualize this global term that has not yet been fully adopted by African cities that have claimed to be “Smart”. This contextualization becomes more complex in this critical context, where the city has not yet reached an ideal performance. Therefore, to reach this prospective African smart city, a critical review of how it would be both human-centered and techno-centered is imperative. This paper would review accordingly the above argument and set key performance indicator-based methodology on how to evaluate the smartness of a city in the African context. Full article
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