Tallinn University of Technology

Cities are changing rapidly.  Progress and innovations in ICT, energy and other fields of technology are making the cities ‘smarter’ at accelerating speed, promoting dramatic changes in our lifestyle, mobility and work. The urban space will retain its importance for urban life, but the role of the space is likely to transform.  Virtuality, our 24/7 presence in ubiquitous communication networks and autonomous transport guided by artificial intelligence are examples of phenomena tangibly coupled with ongoing urban transformation.

Smart Tallinn

However, technology is not only a driver of change, but it also provides tools and methods for better understanding and guiding it. Approaches from data analytics to simulation and machine learning are required to respond to emerging challenges in urbanity, reflected against credible future visions.

For uncertainty of the future, making the city becomes crucial, along with new tools and methods for urban planning and design.

Current situation rises essential questions of how the urban activities will organize in space in the ‘smart city’ emerging from individual decisions made by firms and organizations, and how this unpredictable progress can be guided for good quality of urban life. Furthermore, the individual decisions concerning transportation mode may produce surprising effects in the traffic network on the city scale: how would it impact the congestion or greenhouse gas emissions if half of the people changed their private cars to busses, bikes or future autonomous vehicles – or vice versa? A crucial issue is also the economic future of cities: how is the viability of economic life ensured and the ‘right’ people and companies attracted to smart city, to provide jobs, pay taxes and provide services to keep the city going? Who are these people? And most importantly, with what kind of planning tools can we guide such autonomous processes and not hinder the positive outcomes resulting from their operation?

TalTech Academy of Architecture and Urban Studies explores these questions of ‘Smart Urban Futures’ in a new cooperative project established by TalTech, City of Tallinn and several private sector partners. The aim of the project is to suggest data-based solutions to built environment and planning, mobility and service development related to various aspects of the ´smart´ future city.  For the research team led by Professor Jenni Partanen, the Academy of Architecture is now recruiting three PhD students from the fields of architecture, urban planning or urban studies. The PhD subprojects will delve into the questions of analyzing the spatial and functional dynamics of the smart city; new mobility and transportation; and urban economics and its key actors in smart city.  The PhD students will be funded for four years to work full time in Tõnismägi, Academy of Architecture and Urban Studies building.

The project will provide completely new knowledge of data-driven processes in the future city, and impact of digitalization on urban space and dynamics. Project will produce practical models and solutions for city planners and urban actors for understanding and developing the city towards more sustainable and high-quality urban environment.  The research will scrutinize particularly the Tallinn region; however, the results will be generalizable in wider urban context even globally.

The positions are open until 4.7.2020. More information and job applications can be found on TalTech webpages:

PhD position 1.   ‘Urban spatial data analytics in urban design and planning’: https://taltech.glowbase.com/positions/31

PhD position 2. ‘New urban design and analyses methods for transforming mobility and urban morphology’: https://taltech.glowbase.com/positions/32

PhD position 3. ‘Smart city urban economics and urban design: guiding of complex processes’