Citython Barcelona 2019: Re-thinking mobility in cities. Innovative solutions for inclusive and sustainable public spaces
Reflecting on the relationship of people, technology and cities, the second consecutive edition of the Citython was held within Smart City Week, a Barcelona City Council initiative with over 50 activities scheduled between November 11-17. The Citython, supported by the EIT Urban Mobility and organised by CARNET, with the coordination of the UPC and the collaboration of Lobelia, took place at Ca l’Alier, which is an urban innovation centre in Barcelona. It was during an intensive innovation session that Urban Planners and Sociologists met with experts in engineering, computer and data science to co-create and develop the most original and innovative solutions. Three main challenges were presented this year: counting and measuring mobility modes, monitoring and improving accessibility, and improving the air quality of cities.
On the first day, following the challenges announced by a select group of specialists, participants registered and formed teams . Around 40 students from local universities, and hackers of different nationalities and backgrounds began discussing the strategy of their proposals.
Two days of hacking were enough to develop three business concepts. The first, making our cities more accessible with “Friendeye” technology, is an app for people with visual impairments warning them of dangerous situations while being pedestrians. The second is a proposal to make our cities healthier called “Footprint”, an app to track every journey calculating the equivalent emissions depending on duration and type of trip. Lastly, “Optimising the city for the people: understanding the issues of flow” being the topic of comprehensive cities, in which a team deploys a Deep Q-learning system to determine an optimal policy for controlling the streetlight system. With a 1,500 euro prize, the winning teams had the chance to present their projects at the Barcelona City Council stand during the Smart City World Congress. The prizes are the first motivational tools for students to start an entrepreneurial career in the Urban Mobility sector in Barcelona.