Minor LDE-minor: Smart and Shared Cities

Broadening minor
Minor code
10 weeks


This minor is built on a combination of data, urban, political and social sciences. This multidisciplinary minor is open to all students who are interested in the development of smart and shared cities. The minor is offered in English and accessible for both national and international students.

The minor consists of three modules of 5 EC each for the 15 EC variety. The 30 EC variety holds four modules of 5 EC and 10 EC research work in one of the research labs of the Centre for BOLD Cities and the Vital Cities, Vital Citizens program. The format and modules include classic and innovative teaching methods, i.e. lectures and seminars, field trips, case-based group assignments, video production, blogging and logbooks and the integration of academia and practice.

The aim of the minor is to introduce students from the LDE universities through case-based education to the different smart city concepts and the underlying complexity of modern cities, focused on urban technologies and data science with citizen experience and multi-stakeholder governance. The program is characterized by a multi-disciplinary approach, which allows students to take different perspectives and understand the complexity of smart city life. The program intends to stimulate a reflective mindset, focusing on the interrelation of problems and responsible innovation. The learning goals concern knowledge, attitude and skills which in combination need to equip students with a critical mindset that enables them to work towards public needs and interests in smart cities.

Knowledge: Upon completion of the minor, the student will know what a smart city is and how the associated definitions and discourses produce a particular technological and data practice in which particular concerns and interests take privilege over others. S/he will also understand the kind of participatory spaces that are created by and for citizens, and the competing governance models that smart cities advocate. The student will also have a basic insight in the various data and analytics that are relevant to the development of smart cities.

Attitude: Students will develop a critical but constructive attitude towards different views and opinions about the smart city. They will value the contrasting perspectives of private and public stakeholders and will be able to adapt to and explain different views, suggest different solutions and prioritize advices based on different cases with different values. The core ethos of the minor concerns, however, public values in the smart cities, which are encapsulated in the SHARED principles and ethics that underlie various Dutch digital agendas and have been adopted by the VSNU.

Skills: Upon completion of the minor, students will be able to recognize particular interests and values in smart city discourse and practice; they will be able to choose appropriate data for specific urban challenges (critical thinking and information literacy); they will be able to work in multidisciplinary and trans-sectoral teams and adapt to particular team requirements and collaborative styles (collaboration and communication). For the 30 EC minor, an additional set of skills (e.g. Initiative and technology literacy) will be acquired through internships and projects in the research labs.

Learning objectives

For students completing this minor, there are generic competences and specific competences to be acquired. The minor programme mainly focuses on skills such as analysing and evaluating (policies/strategies). After completing block A (15 EC programme), students will have acquired specific knowledge on smart cities and how data usage could be optimized for its citizens and civil servants. After completing block B (30 EC programme), students will have acquired knowledge about urban data science, its advantages and limitations and how it could be optimized for its citizens and civil servants. The knowledge that students will acquire in these modules will be applied in a case project, where theory is applied in practice by means of a research project.

Module 1. Introduction to the smart city
After this module students are able to:
• Explain the origins and functions of the smart city concept;
• Identify enabling technologies and methodologies of the smart city;
• Identify (recognize) and compare the different conceptions of the smart city concept;
• Position him/herself in the smart city debate, argue for that position and reflect on that position.

Module 2. Governing the smart city
After this module students are able to:
• Understand the playing field of smart cities with the use of conceptual models;
• Understand the consequences of the complexity of smart city playing fields for the governing of the smart city;
• Design instruments/strategies for interactive governance of the smart city.

Module 3. Citizens and everyday experiences with the smart city
After this module students are able to:
• Understand the digital & social division in society;
• Explain how citizens can take role in city dynamics;
• Evaluate tools that mobilize groups of citizens.

Module 4. Urban Data Science
After this module students are able to:
• Compare characteristics of different kinds of data sources that are publicly available;
• Handle spatial and temporal data;
• Link data to different cases and problems;
• Appreciate the value of new data.

Module 5. Research participation and projects
After this module students are able to:
• Conduct independent research within a team;
• Development of a research plan based on chosen research theme;
• Operationalization based on theory;
• Collect research data;
• Analyse and report data.

Special aspects

Since this is a Leiden-Delft-Erasmus minor, the location of where education is offered difference per module.

Deficiencies of students’ knowledge will be tackled at the beginning of each module. Each module will begin with an online quiz that will provide the student with a list of material for self-study to align the knowledge base of students from the various disciplines. All modules will be given in a blended form, i.e. partly face-to-face (e.g. lectures) and partly online (e.g. video’s, web lectures, online documents).

This program is specially developed for students from Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam. The purpose of this minor programme is to educate professionals from different fields such social, economic, environmental engineering and political science on the importance of the different aspects in the use of Big, Open and Linked Data within creating the smart and shared city.
A point of attention regarding the different students and the diversity in study background, as this means that students will most likely have different entry levels. This is considered while designing the programme and the prerequisites to participate. By blending education and using online and offline tools, teachers can check the levels of knowledge of the students upon entry of the course and eventually supply them with relevant background materials to get up to speed.
For this minor there is a balance between traditional and innovative learning methods. The modules are designed in a blended learning form, meaning lectures will make use of face-to-face lectures, online documents and articles, and video’s/online lectures. Reading materials include policy papers, reports, articles and books. We will use Canvas as the electronic teaching environment.

It is possible for EUR students to complete the minor for 15 EC (modules 1, 2 and 3). EUR students can also choose to complete the minor as a whole for 30 EC. The extra 15 EC is extra curricular. To include the extra 15 EC in your Bachelor program, EUR students need to ask permission from their Exam Board.Students from all educational backgrounds are admissible for this minor. Students who do not have a background in problem-based learning (PBL) will need to be aware of the fact that the didactical model of PBL will be used in this course. Before the course, a short introduction will be provided in PBL for these students.

Overview minor modules

Module 1: Introduction to the smart city

  • ECTS:  5
  • Faculty: Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University
  • Content:In this first module the students will be introduced to the core ideas of the smart city and technologies. The module will cover the historical development of the smart city concept and address the various functions of smart city discourse. It will also explain the basic digital and data technologies (key enabling technologies) that constitute smart cities, and discuss the various methodologies to involve citizens and users (key enabling methodologies). There will also be ample attention for the legal, ethical, political and social dilemmas in smart cities. The module will simultaneously introduce students to the most common theories of urban studies, urbanism and urbanization.
  • Teaching methods: Reading, Guest lecture, Field trip and Video
  • Teaching materials: Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via the syllabus for the minor.
  • Contact hours: 10 hours per week.
  • Self study:  30 hours per week.

Module 2: Governing the smart city

  • ECTS:  5
  • Faculty: Faculty Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University
  • Content: Data and digital technologies offer both great potential for cities and great risks. In this module we discuss the effects of platform capital in cities, in the form of, among others, AirBnB and Uber. We explore the various responses from banning (as in Barcelona) to regulating (as in Amsterdam) and free entry (as in many other cities in the world). We will show the political-economic interests of these platforms and discuss the European regulations and attempts at curtailing them. We also zoom in on the way cities themselves explore the use of digital and data technologies and which models of regulation and participation they have developed. The module will have a strong public input from public administration perspectives and discuss how different governance ideologies (new public management vs new public service) produce different understandings of what a smart city should achieve.
  • Teaching methods: Reading, Online lecture, Guest lecture, Online library / toolkit, Groupwork
  • Teaching materials: Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via the syllabus for the minor.
  • Contact hours: 10 hours per week.
  • Self study:  30 hours per week.

Module 3: Citizens and everyday experiences with the smart city

  • ECTS:  5
  • Faculty: Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University
  • Content: Many of the smart city projects are framed as producing solutions to large challenges in cities, regarding, among others, the environment, mobility, security and safety. In addition, there is a strong articulation of ‘smart city’ with open data, citizen participation and start-up economy. In this module we approach the smart city from the perspective of the citizen and the social fabric in the city. Who benefits from smart city developments, whose interests are served? Which groups miss out, and how is everyday life in streets, stores, pubs and clubs affected? In this module we discuss the contrast between technologies of care and service, versus control and surveillance. We pay special attention to the ever expanding array of smart forms of co-creation as opposed to forms of ‘sousveillance’ and ‘coveillance’. Both the civic non-response to the smart city, and the political, artistic and design interventions will be theoretically and empirically addressed.
  • Teaching methods: Online reading, Documentary, Response lecture, Research presentation, Living lab
  • Teaching materials: Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via the syllabus for the minor.
  • Contact hours: 10 hours per week.
  • Self study:  30 hours per week.

Module 4: Urban Data Science

  • ECTS:  5
  • Faculty: TU Delft Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology
  • Content: This course aims to inform students about the big range of geosocial big data technologies such as sensing devices, GPS trackers, social media and massive government and public data repositories within modern cities. Lectures from data science and urban planning discuss the present and future of (spatial) data science applications in urban and regional contexts.
  • Teaching methods: Readings, Online tutorial, Groupwork, Field trip
  • Teaching materials: Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via the syllabus for the minor.
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week.
  • Self study:  16 hours per week.

Module 5: Research participation and practice

  • ECTS:  10
  • Faculty: Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Delft University of Technology, Faculty Governance and Global Affairs, Leiden University, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Erasmus University
  • Content:This course will put all the theory the students had in the previous modules into practice. The students will be able to participate in research practices of existing research projects. Prior to the project, the Centre for BOLD Cities will organize a "market" with research topics and projects, which will be brought in from the existing research lines within BOLD Cities and from other smart city projects from the LDE Universities. Students can register for a topic of their choosing and can choose to do the project individually or jointly; guidance is provided by the relevant researcher.
    A plenary introductory meeting will be held at the beginning of the course to explain the goal of the project. A research design is written based on mandatory working group meetings and specific assignments. If this is approved by the supervisor a report will be written. The course has eight compulsory 2-hour plenary meetings (one day each week). The working groups of the first semester take place on the same day each week (to be discussed). The course has 2 compulsory lectures: the plenary introductory lecture and the post-field work lecture.
    The students work both individually on their topic as experts and in teams on the project. Supervised meetings are scheduled to exchange knowledge, stimulate integration and monitor the progress. Several meeting with the commissioner are obligatory. This module end with a plenary presentation of the design alternatives.
  • Teaching methods: Groupwork, Lectures, Workshop
  • Teaching materials: Scientific and professional papers and teaching cases, to be provided or indicated via the syllabus for the minor.
  • Contact hours: 6 hours per week.
  • Self study:  30 hours per week.


Method of examination
At the end of block A the student hands in a portfolio and an individual assessment takes place. In the portfolio assignments are collected that had to be completed during the minor. This shows that the student has achieved the learning objectives. The student will explain their own learning process in the assessment. The assessors will ask questions to arrive at the conclusion whether the student meets the learning objectives of the minor.
The portfolio may include:
• Film review in group
• Data Logbook
• Reflection
• Case analyses
• Video pitches
• Stakeholder roles

Other forms of testing may include:
• Individual essay (1500 words with critical reflection on another group project)
• Final group report
• Presentations

Composition of final grade
No final marks are given between 5.0 and 6.0 and the following rounding rules are used: a 5.5 or higher is rounded to 6.0 and a 5.49 or lower is rounded to 5.0;
Outside the 5.0 - 6.0 range, final marks are expressed as a number with one decimal.

Students need to pass each module with a grade of at least 5.5 (there is no compensation) in order to complete the minor.
Each module will have its own grade composition which will be described in the syllabus for the minor.

Essays with corrections and feedback will be returned to the students. There will be a feedback moment after each of the assignments. The lecturer provides written or oral feedback on the individual assignment and the group assignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Contact information

Merlina Slotboom
Room: T19-04

Broadening minor
Minor code
10 weeks
Study points (EC)
Instruction language
Campus Woudestein, Rotterdam | Locatie TU Delft | Locatie Universiteit Leiden