IEEE Launches A Smart City Challenge

Interactive game asks members to virtually engineer cities

16 October 2014

Image: IEEE

Have you ever walked down the streets of your favorite city and thought of ways to improve it with say, interactive maps to show scenic routes or activities taking place nearby? Or perhaps you’ve thought of ways to reduce traffic or better dispose of trash? If so, then you might want to enter your ideas in the IEEE Smart City Challenge, a game that encourages people to share their vision for a better world, city by city.    

The IEEE wants suggestions for how to design smart cities of the future.  Suggestions can include ideas for communication, energy, infrastructure, and transportation. Available in English and Portuguese, the game can be played on the website as well as on the Facebook pages of IEEE, The Institute, IEEE Standards Association, and other IEEE social media pages. The goal of the contest is to receive solutions to real-life problems in as many areas of the world as possible. The game was developed as part of IEEE’s participation in this week’s Futurecom, a conference in Brazil for business leaders to look at advancements in technology, such as those used for smart cities.     

You could win a US $100 Amazon gift card. The winner is selected by a random drawing and the more submissions to the game means the better the odds.


First select your language preference, and provide your name, e-mail address, and answer whether you are an IEEE member or not (although you don’t need to be a member to play). Then the fun begins. Select the city you would like to help redesign. A drop down list will show some of the most discussed cities, like Mumbai, New York, and Shanghai. You can select them to see what others have suggested and add your own ideas. There’s also an interactive map with red pins you can click on that shows all the cities being discussed.

If no one has submitted suggestions for your city just yet, be the first. With the integration of Google Maps in the game, players are able to select any location in the world by typing in the name in the search bar on the app.  

Moreover, the game lists the city’s population, size, and energy resources, to help participants better craft their submissions. Examples of smart city applications already implemented are also featured on the game. For example, Paris has an electric-vehicle sharing program with more than 250 rental facilities, Toronto uses natural gas captured from its landfills to power the city’s garbage trucks, and Tokyo’s suburb of Fujisawa is currently being rebuilt with every house equipped with solar panels and storage batteries, which can be used as a source of energy in times of outages.   


Submissions thus far include converting the energy from New York City’s subway system to power the city’s electric grid. Others went a step further for the city by proposing a way to convert kinetic energy from people walking, biking, and driving to power devices like cellphones. 

For Mumbai, one player suggested a system to interconnect office buildings with pedestrian bridges to help decrease traffic on the streets, while others suggested new forms of public transportation like levitating monorails. And for Rome, suggestions included changing the roofing materials on buildings to better control interior temperatures and reduce carbon monoxide emissions.

What are your ideas for your current city, or one that you like to visit? Share it on the IEEE Smart Cities Challenge Game.

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