Editorial Feature

City Sensors to Help Improve Urban Life

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The world’s population is rapidly expanding, with a huge proportion of this growth centered around urban areas. This increase in population, together with the demands of our modern lifestyle, is putting significant strain on infrastructure. Researchers are now looking at ways to use sensor technology to help make our cities more efficient.

This article looks at a project run by the Center for Computation and Data (UrbanCCD) at the University of Chicago called “The Array of Things”. The project looks at how sensors can collect data to help improve our lives.

The Array of Things

Chicago city agencies open source of city data has given local residents the ability to interact with and benefit from the information collected. However, city agencies, in collaboration with UrbanCCD, have now found a new way of collecting even broader, higher-resolution data on everything from daily city life to the air quality.

The Array of Things project aims to provide a large stream of open source information to help develop and improve urban life using sensors.

Interactive modular sensor boxes will be positioned around Chicago to collect real-time data about the city’s environment, infrastructure and public spaces.

The city of Chicago could have as many as fifty sensors installed in light poles across the city by the end of this year.

The sensor box will be housed in a decorative aluminium shield and will collect data about the wind, temperature, light intensity and rainfall around the city.  

The sensors will also collect data on the number of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices within a 100 foot range, accurately measuring pedestrian levels across the city.

Chicago Initiatives

The Array of Things is one of many initiatives Chicago agencies are looking to introduce.

The objective is to establish the next generation of infrastructure which will enable the cities residents and businesses to become more digitally-engaged.

Installing high-speed internet access is becoming increasingly important for both residents and businesses and Chicago agencies are working with private companies, universities, and other organizations to help make this a reality.

Chicago’s Technology Plan

Cities all over the world are providing their communities with cutting edge technology that engages, informs and helps drive success.

With an increasing population within our cities, It is essential that technology is used to help improve our lives, and the use of sensors to collect valuable information is one way to help make our cities more efficient for the future.

The above initiative is helping Chicago drive the development of its technology and the improvement of the lives of its residents.



Stuart Milne

Written by

Stuart Milne

Stuart graduated from the University of Wales, Institute Cardiff with a first-class honours degree in Industrial Product Design. After working on a start-up company involved in LED Lighting solutions, Stuart decided to take an opportunity with AZoNetwork. Over the past five years at AZoNetwork, Stuart has been involved in developing an industry leading range of products, enhancing client experience and improving internal systems designed to deliver significant value for clients hard earned marketing dollars. In his spare time Stuart likes to continue his love for art and design by creating art work and continuing his love for sketching. In the future Stuart, would like to continue his love for travel and explore new and exciting places.


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