Smart City

Explore the concept of SMART living and investigate whether any areas of your daily life could be innovated with a data-driven approach

Module details

  • Offered to 2nd Years
  • Mondays 16.00-18.00
  • 2-term module worth 5 ECTS
  • Available to eligible students as part of I-Explore
  • Extra Credit or Degree Credit where your department allows
Degree credit module options by departmentHow to enrol

Have you ever wondered why there wasn’t a better way to use data to... (fill in the blank) ? In this module, you have the opportunity to think critically about your own life and consider what influence SMART technology has on you. That might be maximizing your efficiency, helping you identify problems, improving your sleep or keeping you glued to your phone. Whatever the answer, it will be different for everyone.

Work alongside other students studying happiness and sustainability to explore the concept of smart living. What does a data-responsive environment really look like? What elements of your own life are ‘data-driven?’ What is the point of smart technology? Using a range of innovative techniques, map the impact of ‘data’ on your daily life. Through discussions, research and reflection you will determine an area of smart technology to focus on. You will then develop a range of ideas or potential applications to utilize or improve smart tech and test your favourite in the real world. This module will provide you with the opportunity to evaluate the impact of data on your life and provide you with the space and time to consider how you want to leverage that data.

This module will be delivered online making full use of our virtual classroom. Each session will be highly interactive including activities, discussion and close interaction with your peers and teachers. To understand more about how we teach online interactively, visit the Change Makers Online Learning page.

Information blocks

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module you will be better able to:

  • Understand the premise, benefits and challenges of a ‘smart city’ 
  • Apply the responsive, data-driven approach to innovating other aspects of daily life
  • Create a personalised brief – analysing your own life to identify opportunities to innovate 
  • Develop a rationale for assessing the needs, benefits and success of implementing such an innovation 
  • Design and test a targeted innovation in your own life 
  • Evaluate the impact of the innovation

Indicative core content

You will begin by examining the SMART technology around you. You will then explore the concept of smart living and apply the responsive data-driven approach to various different elements of your life (e.g. transport, education, household, healthcare, arts, entertainment). 

You will develop a rationale and method for assessing the benefits (or not) of smart processes. You will then create your own briefs using video or photo diaries and rotate through a number of mini design cycles before picking one idea to develop, prototype, test and evaluate.


  • Practical: Smart Living Footprint Poster (10%)
  • Coursework: Video/Photo Diary Brief and Analysis (30%)
  • Practical: Design Process Assessment (20%)
  • Practical: Final Design Portfolio (40%)

Key information

  • Requirements: You are expected to attend all classes and undertake approximately 85 hours of independent study in total during the module. Independent study includes reading and preparation for classes, researching and writing coursework assignments and preparing for other assessments.
  • Sufficient time will be set aside for all assessments to be completed in-class.
  • This module is designed as an undergraduate Level 5 course. See Imperial Horizons level descriptors [pdf]

My Journey

You can focus your project on any area of smart living that you want to explore, but to give you some ideas of what students have tackled previously, take a look at these topics:

  • Addiction to technology – can we live without smart devices?
  • The quantified self – how can this be used to drive self improvement?
  • Developing a smart fridge to enhance student life

Project submissions can be really creative and can include any component you feel express your experience of completing the project. So far students have submitted:

  • Project reports and narratives
  • Video diaries
  • Short films
  • Podcasts
  • Websites
  • Newsletters
  • Posters
  • Handwritten journals
  • Hand made and digital artwork
  • Apps
"This module gave me the opportunity to rediscover and enjoy things that I had given up a long time ago"
"This module offers a really different experience, and I really enjoyed coming up with ideas that I wouldn’t normally come up with"
"I’m really pleased that I will be able to use this experience in my every-day life"
"This module really helps you to develop creativity – even if you don’t think you’re a creative person"