Area Networking and Communications
PhD project: Blockchain-Enabled Urban Technologies (BEUTech)
Supervisor: Miquel Oliver, Lluïsa Marsal
Contact for application: Miquel Oliver ([email protected])
Today, we are witnessing an unprecedented information explosion thanks to the dramatic technological advancement brought by the Information Age. This technological (r)evolution has set the foundations for the release and publication of huge amounts of data onto online repositories such as web pages, forums, wikis and social media. Art and culture have benefited dramatically from this context, which allows potentially anyone with an available Internet connection to access, produce, publish, comment or interact with any form of media.
In this context, we want to explore the potential of the novel Blockchain technology in the urban sphere. The Blockchain is currently seen as the next big thing after the Internet. In the not yet abundant scientific literature, some authors define the Blockchain as the Internet of value, or the rewards layer that the ‘classic’ Internet never had. In short, the Blockchain allows for a distributed validation of transactions and processes in a decentralised fashion, meaning that no central authority is needed. It therefore brings a revolution of trust since it offers a powerful bottom-up change of paradigm that empowers Blockchain participants while it gets rid off middleman positions. This is a disruptive shift that dramatically lowers transaction costs while it rewards Blockchain participants through a system of incentives, the so called tokens.
Specifically, we aim at bringing together the most common urban technologies that architects and urban planners use to shape our cities and the Blockchain, in a novel research exploration that we will frame in the wider context of Blockchain4Cities. Urban technologies include the BIM (Building Information Modelling), the GIS (Geographical Information Systems), the UIS (Urban Information Systems, also known as Mayor’s Dashboards), the UPIS (Urban Planning Information Systems), IoT (Internet of Things), Cadastre and Land Registries.
We will start by studying what functionalities and operations of the above urban technologies would benefit from the integrity and immutability of records enabled by Blockchain. Also, we will look at the urban practices typically processed by these urban technologies and investigate how Blockchain can articulate a more decentralised and distributed processing of transactions that benefits the user and, ultimately, the citizen as the end beneficiary of how these urban technologies shape our cities.