How do you imagine the future of sustainable cities in the age of big data?

Phase 1/1: Spekulationsphase completed
Mobility is the circulatory system that makes cities alive, productive, and welcoming. Big data and digital technologies promise many possibilities to impact the living conditions of citizens. They not only create new ways of navigating the city but at the same time completely reshape how we experience our urban lives and environments.
07.06.2022: Start of Challenge
Challenge beendet
How do you imagine the future of sustainable cities in the age of big data?
How do you imagine the future of sustainable cities in the age of big data?
A promising process that has been researched for 20 years can be used for the first time to filter microplastics and other waste out of water and soil without harming other living creatures.
Predictions of an increase in waste generation have been revised downward as the world's population shrinks due to unbearable heat and related hardships.
There is reason to hope that the ongoing drastic cuts in the production of goods and progress in the circular economy will lead to waste reduction and, at the last minute, the absolute collapse of the global ecosystem due to waste can be avoided.
Challenge Details

Big Data and the City

Modern urban environments are complex techno-social systems made by many smaller interacting components or larger entities that we call ‘’cities’’. New ITC technologies allow for unprecedented and pervasive monitoring of many of these components. Nowadays, many technologies are available to monitor and optimise daily citizen movements: GPS tracks from mobile phones, smart cameras, and traffic sensors. Moreover, new ways of moving are emerging: e.g., bike-sharing, scooters, multimodal transports. The ensemble of all these innovations is changing our urban experience either in a positive, i.e. faster and greener commuting, or negative way, i.e. privacy issues, loss of the ability to navigate the city autonomously.

How can both scientists and artists improve modern urban environments and create a sustainable living, facilitating innovative practices for common rules, sustainability, and ecological transition through technological innovation? How could the impact of future urban mobility be on everyday life, looking for new perspectives that both citizens and experts in the field are not yet aware of? How to explore new scenarios for urban mobility exploiting current or foreseeable technologies to improve urban living conditions

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Artist Response

Trace your Waste

Urban Garbage Mobility
Susi Gutsche

Trace your Waste aims to observe and visualize movements of our garbage and explore its possible impacts on future urban life within the context of waste.
How to pave the way to a “resilient waste mobility”? How does waste end up where it shouldn’t end up?

As part of the S+T+ARTS Residencies, Susi Gutsche using cutting edge IoT technologies to get data on pressing societal issues engages citizens in an artistic way to raise awareness and produce a discussion on the global waste crisis. Gaining more knowledge and data in order to understand the usually hidden dynamics can produce a wider discussion and understanding of challenges and problems. The final interactive installation - an island of waste representing all contaminated soil on earth - will present and visualise the paths taken by the garbage samples, including all the objects that have been used as containers for the trackers showcasing test samples of different waste collections making people more aware of present challenges by interacting and engaging hands-on with the topic in a low-barrier way as citizens.

Challenge Context

S+T+ARTS Residency
Big Data and the City

Since June 2021, as part of the European Commission’s S+T+ARTS initiative, 12 new Regional S+T+ARTS Centers have been creating a space for artists, scientists, and technologists to work together on a common mission: Repairing the present. The S+T+ARTS initiative is a program funded by the European Commission aiming to bring artistic perspectives into the innovation process to address current challenges in today’s society.

Repairing the Present as part of the S+T+ARTS Residencies encourages a critique of the present, the exploration beyond its current limitations, and the re-imagination of other possible futures. To that end, the program fosters the development of methodologies and frameworks for long-term cross-disciplinary collaborations that can lead to products, tools and processes with a positive impact on society at large.

In October and November 2021, 12 Regional S+T+ARTS Centers called international artists working at the intersection between science, technology and the arts to apply for a 6-month residency. The residencies respond to local sustainability challenges that have been defined by invited Local Experts Groups during workshops that took place in July-September 2021. The Regional S+T+ARTS Center MAXXI in collaboration with SONY CSL has announced Susi Gutsche as the winner of the S+T+ARTS Residency Big Data and the City. During the residency, the artists engage with the Local Expert Group, the general public as well as other relevant stakeholders in a strongly collaborative process. This crowdsourcing campaign on Futures Canvas forms part of this process.

Your contribution matters and will be part of a larger endeavour: it will be integrated into the S+T+ARTS project report that will be shared and discussed with the EU Commission as well as local stakeholders. This is an opportunity to think along with artists and local experts involved in the challenge.

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Challenge Hosts

The challenge is co-commissioned by MAXXI and SONY CSL within the framework of Repairing The Present. Repairing The Present is co-funded by the S+T+ARTS initiative of the European Union.


The S+T+ARTS initiative is a program funded by the European Commission aiming to bring artistic perspectives into the innovation process to address current challenges in today’s society.

S+T+ARTS Residencies

Since its launch five years ago, the S+T+ARTS initiative has hosted over 125 residencies across its different projects. Repairing the Present is adding 21 thematic residencies to the portfolio. Each of the residencies points to an EU Green Deal or a New European Bauhaus goal and reflects pan-European or global issues that require solutions tailored to specific regions.

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