Planning and constructing a smart city comprises multiple professions, skills and roles. As the scope is wide, so is the career path. Urban planning, construction management, architecture design, quantity survey are all different. Yet, we need them together to build a smart city.
Many cities offer dedicated graduation or diploma courses to get skillful enough to build a sustainable city. You may ask, why is it important? Well, urban planners are the ones that shape major issues in citizens’ lives. How can a city deal with the climate crisis? How and where are the jobs created?
How easy is it for people to afford a home and travel across the city? All of this highly depends on how urban planners further their development. They help communities enhance their quality of life while also giving them control to make big decisions.
We took the example of urban planners because their role decides the direction and dimensions of everybody else’s role. Although we are highlighting urban planners, specialised smart city courses are for every important profession that helps develop a smart city.
In general, it covers construction, infrastructure, new developments, sustainable design, structural elements, civil engineering and more. One such dedicated, professional and one-of-its-kind course has been introduced by Smart Dubai. Let us explore more about this in the context given ahead.
Smart City Course To Increase Happiness
Recently, Smart Dubai launched a professional diploma to improve the skills of the Emirate’s smart city experience specialists.
Smart Dubai is the government office responsible for the city’s smart transformation. It ensures to deliver and promote an efficient and safe city experience for inhabitants and visitors.
The diploma is taking place from the first week of September to the first week of November 2020. This initiative is part of the new phase of Dubai’s Happiness Agenda. Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai launched the agenda in 2019.
After Dubai’s early vision of becoming the happiest city on Earth, a second phase the Happiness Agenda was introduced. This latest phase aims to improve people’s experiences in the smart city of Dubai. To achieve this vision, the stress is on the role of smart city experience specialists as a fundamental element.
The government entity is acting on transforming Dubai into a full-fledged smart city of the future. Smart Dubai is in charge of supporting the education sector. As part of these efforts, it is creating new specialisations and programmes that are needed to develop successful smart cities. This is as said by Younus Al Nasser, assistant director-general, Smart Dubai and CEO, Dubai Data Establishment. He continued saying that the new professional diploma was designed with this exact goal in mind.
He further added that the professional diploma is focused on experienced practitioners who have extensive knowledge and real-world expertise – but still require formal training in design and research.
Focusing on digital technologies, design basics, research methods and service design is a novel and inclusive approach. It can help learners develop a better understanding of emerging technologies and enhance their knowledge in this domain. Dr Eesa Bastaki, President, University of Dubai said.
We live in the digital world. And it is crucial to put all necessary efforts to research, develop and design improved learning methods to be applied in future initiatives. The diploma is designed to teach best practices that help enhance the design and quality of current digital services. The aim is also to devise new ones to drive Dubai’s digital transformation and create a smart city.
About The Course Foundations
According to Smart Dubai, the use of current and emerging technologies will be the foundation of the course. It will help speed up innovation and straight away add to continued improvements in the economy. Plus, it will also enrich the environment and the quality of life in the Emirate.
The professional diploma is first of its kind in the UAE. It is being offered online by Smart Dubai in collaboration with the University of Dubai and the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) has authorized it. The course will be handled by 35 smart city experience specialists from 27 government, semi-government and private sector entities.
The diploma course comprises four modules and a capstone project. With the capstone project, learners will be able to apply their learnings and takeaways in a real-life project.
The first module is Digital Technologies. It concentrates on the basics of key emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain. In addition, it also comprises dynamic service integration and information security.
The second module is the Design Basics. It provides insight into primary topics in design methodology, including design thinking, content design, information architecture, and user interface.
The third module is Research Methods. It gives a practical review of important research techniques including survey, interview design, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and data science.
The final and fourth module is Service Design. It compiles all the elements under one topic to create high-quality digital services towards an exceptional experience. It comprises the difference between product and service design while also the difference between digital and analogue services. These include customer journeys and prototyping.
Coming to the capstone project, each learner is required to select a project theme. They are provided with a selection of pre-set project themes at the beginning of the course to choose from.
Learners working individually or in small groups will also have the opportunity to submit their own project theme. However, this depends on the approval by the course tutors. The intention of the capstone project is to apply course learnings to a real-life project. Later, it is anticipated to take the project to actual implementation.
Those who apply for this diploma course are expected to graduate with an in-depth understanding of emerging technologies. They are also anticipated to:
- Apply the use of emerging technologies to design digital services.
- Understand the key aspects and processes of service design.
- Have a clear grasp of research techniques that can be applied to service design and provision.
From a career perspective, such smart city courses open doors to good employment opportunities. Because currently there are recruitment shortages in the construction industry and in many planning authorities. Excelling in such courses means getting work in the local, or national planning department.
With the increasing urbanisation and global expansion of populations, our relationship with the man-made and natural environment is continuously impacted. As a result, city planners, urban designers urgently need to develop new ways of thinking to resolve increasingly complex problems.
Design thinking and design are the keys to innovation. Hence, they matter more than ever to help smart cities speed up their response meaningfully and emphatically. These are the skills that are essential to place in the hands and minds of the next generation.
So, that they can enable purposeful and humanised digital transformation. This is as per Mohammed Abdullah, President, Dubai Institute of Design, and Innovation. Smart city planning requires skills in design, communication, and analysis. If smart cities introduce dedicated courses focusing on these factors, it will be helpful in bringing up timely and relevant solutions.