Building inter-personal competence in architecture and urban design students through smart cities at a higher education institution

Daniel S. Oh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


As the smart city concept and applications continue to evolve, traditional architects and urban designers are facing an increasingly uncertain future. This paper outlines an innovative educational format to bolster and perpetuate the interdisciplinary nature of architects and urban designers that resonates with both sustainable development (SD) and smart cities (SCs). By applying 'connective knowledge' to the concept of interdisciplinarity education, a method was established that uses the SC concept to expand upon and create a bridge between distant disciplines in the context of higher education sustainable development (HESD). As a complementary educational pedagogy to the 'whole institution approach' to reduce barriers in higher education institutions (HEIs), this paper highlights an opportunity to apply the SC concept as a basis to construct an interdisciplinary design workshop to focus on building inter-personal competence, targeting university-level students majoring in architecture and urban design. The design workshop used microcontrollers and sensors as these are scalable and easily learnt building blocks of the Internet of Things and SCs. The inter-disciplinary workshop ran for 16 weeks with 14 students majoring in architecture and urban design and electrical engineering. Based on interviews and course evaluations, the experiment was vetted using capacities of inter-personal competence in sustainable development. A series of insights and findings from the design workshop indicated positive initial outcomes that were used to form a set of working criteria for the interdisciplinary design workshop. Future work will include structuring empirical data collection and analysis and expanding collaborations with other distant disciplines such as public administration and social innovation, as delineated by the SC concept.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7179
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 by the authors.


  • Education for sustainable development
  • Higher education institution
  • Interdisciplinary
  • Internet of things
  • Interpersonal competence
  • Microcontroller
  • Smart city
  • Transdisciplinary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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