Visiting Research Centre for BOLD (Big, Open and Linked Data) Cities

Author: Dr Taşkın Dirsehan STSM Period: 2021-09-15 – 2021-10-15

ECI: Yes

Hosting institution: Erasmus University Rotterdam

ITC: Yes

PURPOSE OF THE STMS

My main aim and motivation for my research activities in Rotterdam are to work on the smart city based research questions which are in parallel with the objective of the “sheldon” action (CA16226); “support and share the development of research and solutions for an independent elderly life”. Smart city technologies are also developed to solve social problems such as the elderly’s ones via technology use. The realized STSM is expected to contribute to respond especially to the following needs of the sub-working groups:

  1. (for WG4.2): identify core challenges that older adults face when aging in the community
  2. (for WG4.4): seek to achieve a better understanding of the adoption challenges that solutions aimed at the aging market face

In line with these needs, in-depth interviews with 6 experts were conducted:

  1. to reveal the social challenges facing elderly where smart city technologies attempt to solve,

2. to explore the antecedents and consequences of elderly’s technology acceptance.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK CARRIED OUT DURING THE STSMS

In-depth interviews as qualitative research technique with the experts at the center for BOLD cities were conducted through a structured flow. Ms. Roos Kemna (communications officer at Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities) and Ms. Ada Noorlander (secretary at Erasmus Graduate School of Social Sciences and the Humanities (EGSH) / Bold Cities) have invited the experts to the interview and planned the schedule between 17th and 29th September 2021. Six experts from three different universities (Erasmus University, Delft University of Technology, and Leiden University) have accepted to be included in the research based on their voluntary participation. The experts had specializations on different aspects of smart cities: politics of the smart city, location analysis of activities, digital technologies in public administration, smart city applications in the domain of public safety management, urban data platforms, social and political contexts of design (please see Table 1).

Applicant enters 500 word summary here. Applicant enters 500 word summary here. Each interview took around one hour (an average of 59.66 minutes). At the beginning of each interview, the consent was obtained from the experts to record the meetings and all the interviews were transcribed at the end of the interviews.

The responses gathered through in-depth interviews were analyzed using “content analysis”. Three steps were followed to reveal the themes and concepts related to the smart city context. First, the recordings of each focus group were listened. Then, the transcripts of the records were read to identify and extract common concepts that are based on the theoretical framework that was identified by analyzing the transcripts .

At the end of the research, a meeting was done with Prof. Lieasbet van Zoonen to discuss the results of the interviews and the future collaborations. The results were analyzed based on the categories included in the interview flow.

Table 1. Descriptives of the Experts

DESCRIPTION OF THE MAIN RESULTS OBTAINED

The results are expected to contribute to the needs described for three working groups of the “sheldon” action.

Corresponding Result to the Need 1 (for WG4.2):

By considering the core challenges that older adults face when aging in the community, one of the main challenges appears as loneliness. Taking side of technology use is not needed to be a smart city, the sixth expert gave an example of a smart idea directed to solve this important problem. Recently, one of the biggest supermarket chains in the Netherlands, called Jumbo opened ‘chat checkouts’ to combat loneliness among the elderly. Moreover, he insisted on the importance of problem solving in developing the smart city technologies.

Smart city technologies may solve the challenges of elderly such as taking appointments online, using government services via e-government and ordering via mobile applications. However, the main challenge in using these systems brings us to their acceptance of smart city technologies which is handled by worging subgroup 4.4.

 

Corresponding Result to the Need 2 (for WG4.4):

Even though smart city technologies should aim social inclusiveness, all experts agree that these technologies do not target all the social groups. So, it’s possible to investigate the participation of elderly in smart city technologies in two categories: The design of smart city technologies for elderly and identifying the factors as antecedents of the technologies. For the first category, some groups like elderly who do not exist for example on social media become invisible in the dataset. So, as stated by the second expert, they are excluded from the data on which smart city technologies are designed. Another concern of the second expert together with the fourth expert, about the adoption of smart city technologies was also about the mental health in addition to their physical health.

The third and fourth experts put forward also access to technology as a factor playing role in smart city technology adoption. Digitally adept people may adopt easier the smart city technologies than do the elderly who for instance may not make appointment online. Supporting this statement, the fifth expert provided an example that in the Covid-19 pandemic period, elderly didn’t even have smart phones to put their Corona app on it.

By focusing on the antecedents and consequences of technology acceptance, the following dimensions emerge as antecedents of smart city technology acceptance:

– freedom to use or being subject to use the technologies

– visibility in the dataset in developing the smart city technologies

– mental health,

– physical health,

– access to technology,

– digital literacy,

– awareness (visibility) of the smart city technologies,

– integration level of smart city technologies,

– safety/privacy perception,

– normalization of smart city technologies,

– Socio economic groups as a moderating variable.

Moreover, the consequences of the smart city adoption can be listed as:

– life quality of citizens

– brand image of the city

– brand equity of the city

FUTURE COLLABORATIONS

At the end of the qualitative research, a meeting was done with Prof. Liesbet van Zoonen, the academic director of the Centre for BOLD Cities, and  compelementary research designs were formulated.

  1. An extension of the qualitative research including more interviews with BOLD City members was planned to enrich the current report which will be turned into a working paper for the Centre for BOLD cities.
  2. Complementary quantitative research designs were discussed in order to test the results in different case studies, such as micro-mobility systems and parking applications.
  3. A newly developed coast cleaning robots which is not an individual technology project has been considered as an alternative case study about smart city technology adoption.
  4. The University of Twente was also visited and a meeting was done with Prof. Jörg Henseler for the application of Partial Least Squars-Path Modeling (PLS-PM) in quantitative research designs.

5. Further meetings are intended to conduct with international offices of Erasmus University and University of Twente in order to develop Erasmus+ projects.