Abstract—The irreversible process of demographic change,
especially in Germany, leads to numerous challenges.
According to this, research has to face the task to integrate the
constantly ageing population into the urban and public space
in such a way that there are as few barriers as possible. With
the support of digitalization, so-called smart urban objects are
being designed in order to do make integration, so that people
and the available technology can be used most efficiently. A
special ontology has been developed to meet this demand.
he demographic change of a permanently ageing popu-
lation has become a globally visible phenomenon. Par-
ticularly in Germany, the population will be considerably
older in the future than it is at present. According to , ev-
ery third person will be older than 65 years of age by 2060.
Corresponding with the tendency of a permanently ageing
population goes the fact of changing needs and in daily life.
In the era of the inevitable digitalization and in particular the
Internet of Things (IoT), the challenge is to what extent digi-
talization can improve daily life for these ageing population.
Accordingly, the concept of providing the urban space with
so-called smart urban objects (SUOs)  is being pursued to
increase the participation of elderly people by digitalization.
These SUOs are elements of the urban environment, e.g.
lights, information boards and benches, which are connected
to a digital information space and allow for implicit or ex-
plicit interaction. The desired goal is to increase the feeling
of security on urban environment by personalization of these
objects. Some of these SUOs are described in detail in ,
,  ,  and . The focus of this research is the inter-
section between the behavior of elderly people, currently re-
ferred to as Ambient Assisted Living (AAL), and Smart City.
The final focus of this paper is to provide an ontology for
classifying these SUOs so that both the technical aspects as
well as the aspects of the AAL are considered.
II. MOTIVATION AND RESEARCH QUESTION
The increase in barrier-free accessibility, especially for
older persons, will be achieved with the support of SUOs. In
order to enable a categorization of these objects, an ontology
is required which takes both technical aspects and the view
of public health and AAL into account. Based on this kind
of ontology, designers of SUOs can consider all aspects
mentioned to achieve maximum efficiency of these objects
in the later context. In order to sufficiently answer this moti-
vation, following research question is posed, which is the
central issue of this article.
How does a taxonomy for the design of SUOs have to be
constructed in order to sufficiently consider aspects of Pub-
lic Health and AAL as well as the technical perspective, so
that a maximum increase of barrier-free accessibility is al-
ready addressed during the design process?
III. RELATED WORK
At this point, approaches and solutions are described and
analyzed in terms of the way they answer the research ques-
tion of this article. Basically, ontologies exist on the one
hand in the field of Smart City and on the other hand in the
field of so-called Public Health. At this point, both direc-
tions will be analyzed in depth and compared with each
other, though the research question here characterizes ex-
actly the intersection between these two directions.
In  an ontology in the area of Public Health is de-
scribed, which characterizes in particular the direct situation
in the hospital. Here so-called medical classes and medical
activations exists. The former include specific diseases,
symptoms, therapies, roles and departments in the hospital.
The activations subsequently serve to bring these medical
classes together in a meaningful relationship and thus de-
scribe the applications in the field of Public Health. An on -
tology-based approach in public health with the support of a
geographic information system (GIS) is discussed in .
Smart Urban Design Space
Leipzig University, Germany
Leipzig University, Germany
Sozial-Holding der Stadt
University of Hohenheim,
Universität der Bundeswehr
Wroclaw University of Economics,
Proceedings of the Federated Conference on
Computer Science and Information Systems pp. 493–496
ISSN 2300-5963 ACSIS, Vol. 18
IEEE Catalog Number: CFP1985N-ART c
2019, PTI 493
The ontology is used for the fusion of data from social and
health related issues. Nevertheless, the GIS is the primary
focus of the description, and ontology is only used as a tool.
So therefore is no further discussion of it. In the contribution
of  a set of different ontologies is presented, which should
support designers in the development of so called AAL and
those services. In detail, actors, spaces and devices are mod-
eled and linked so that concrete AAL-elements can be de-
scribed that have been used within the present study. Over-
all, this type of modeling is very complex and still has no
generic character, meaning that any further use is crucial. A
framework for managing the current state as well as the
users profile information extracted from the internet and the
mobile context is illustrated in . This so called Next
Generation Network (NGN) is an ontology for modeling
typical users of AAL-services. But these services are only
user centric and have no relation to technical issues. Also the
platform in  offers assistance in communication and in-
formation acquisition by providing personalized and con-
text-awared AAL-services. Therefore an ontology is used
whre users are the central aspect of the platform. Further-
more this ontology enables a historical view of the users
changing characteristics and environment. In view of this
explanation, only the user behavior is addressed without en-
compassing the technical factors. Also in  an ontology
for structuring daily living activities of users is depicted,
whereby a stronger focus is placed on the underlying aspect
of AAL and thus on elderly persons. In contrast, the ontol-
ogy in  discusses the technical aspects in terms of best
practice for building automation devices and functions and
how these underlying models are structured especially in the
area of AAL. But in this case there is only a technical view
without inclusion of users perspective.
In contrast to solutions of Public Health and AAL, there
are some approaches from the Smart City context. These are
presented in the following. This Smart City context is char-
acterized by data collected from various distributed systems.
Purposing these task in  the so called Semantic Web is
used for designing a new Smart City ontology. The primary
focus is to address the interoperability among the different
systems and frameworks for describing Smart City objects.
In  is an analysis about the impact of Smart City applica-
tions observed in the field of energy and transport. Besides
 describes  an ontology to describe the entire Smart
City domain. In  this description is extended for IoT-
based applications. Nevertheless, , ,  and  all
have a strong technical focus and do not mind the user-cen-
In addition to the number of ontologies mentioned so far,
a so-called Design Space is described in  which enables
the characterization and categorization of UI-based elements
in the development of applications. This idea would require
continuous expansion to include the sensors and applications
of the IoT arising.
In summary, a wide spectrum of previous ontologies were
presented. These addresses on the one hand the areas of
Public Health and AAL and on the other hand the topic of
Smart City. The former ontologies have a strong user-centric
focus and the latter are technically very pronounced. How-
ever, there is no solution among all approaches that repre -
sents a sufficient mix to satisfy the related research question
of this article. In addition, the investigated solutions indicate
that the aspect of interconnecting the underlying data struc-
ture is becoming increasingly important. As a result, this as -
pect would also have to be integrated more into the ontolo-
gies used in this context.
IV. DESCRIPTION OF SMART URBAN DESIGN SPACE
This chapter introduces the so-called Smart Urban Design
Space (SUDS). Such a taxonomy meets the above-men-
tioned full range of criteria in terms of technical aspects,
AAL and Public Health. A fundamental idea of this SUDS is
the networking of the separate criteria. The basic context is
represented graphically in Fig. 1, whereby each use case can
be supported by at least one or more SUOs, which are used
by at least one or more persons. In order for the SUOs to be
used by the persons per use case, it may be necessary to pro -
vide additional assistance, which is continuously referred to
Against this background, a use case is the concrete sce-
nario in which the elderly person(s) can use the digital sup -
port outdoors (outside buildings). Concrete examples in this
context are an adaptive lighting system of the area to be
walked in during a walkway, an adaptive park bench, which
adapts to the individual sitting height of the respective per-
son as well as intelligent information spotlights, which pro -
vide personalized information of the urban space to be vis-
ited. These examples are presented in detail in chapter 5.
Within the SUDS, the three criteria SUO, Aid, and Person
exist for each use case, with their corresponding subordinate
properties. In this regard, an overview of the entire taxon-
omy is shown in Fig. 2. A person has so-called competen-
cies, which are continuously referred to as skills. These in-
clude speaking, seeing, hearing, cognitive skills such as easy
logical thinking and movement, which in this case refers to
walking without aids. The SUO contains the five criteria ac-
tuator, sensor, parallelization, personalization and interac-
tion sensor. The interaction sensor describes which human
Fig 1. This picture illustrates the entity relationship diagram of the basic
relation between smart urban objects (SUOs), the appropriate use case,
involved persons and the personalized purpose (aid).
494 PROCEEDINGS OF THE FEDCSIS. LEIPZIG, 2019
sense for an interaction of the SUO is required. It distin-
guishes between seeing, hearing and haptic handling such as
using a touch pad. In addition to operating sensors, there is
also the criterion of technical sensors, which is referred to
merely as sensors within this taxonomy. There are mechani-
cal, piezoelectric, capacitive, inductive, optical, magnetic
and signal-based practices. The latter symbolize the provi-
sion of information by an external information source. Simi-
lar to technical sensor technology, the actuator also distin-
guishes between mechanical, signal-based, optical, thermal
and acoustic variants. Personalization classifies the SUO ac-
cording to whether each individual person is addressed indi-
vidually, whether a group of people is addressed (cluster) or
whether no individual personalization (general) is satisfied.
In this context, there is also the criterion of parallelization,
whether the SUO differentiates only single-user or multi-
user in the respective use case. Similar to the SUO, the aid
has a shortened set of criteria. The interaction sensor, actua-
tor and sensor are used, with the latter describing the techni-
cal perspective. The characteristics of these criteria are anal-
ogous to those of the SUO.
V. CASE STUDY “URBANLIF E+”
In the research project UrbanLife+, the autonomy and
participation of senior citizens in urban areas is explored in
such a way that they can be increased. For this purpose, ur-
ban objects in Mönchengladbach are to be transformed into
SUOs with the help of innovative human-technology inter-
action approaches, which provide senior citizens with tech-
nical support in line with their needs and enable them to
move around the city safely  . Three use cases are pre-
sented for these addressed solutions, which are then classi-
fied in the SUDS. These use cases are Adaptive Lighting,
Adaptive Park Bench and the Information Radiators. In the
following these are explained briefly and the classification
in the SUDS is discussed individually. Overall it is repre-
sented in Fig. 2.
A. Adaptive Lighting System
The system of the Adaptive Lighting improves the feeling
of safety on elderly people especially in dark areas at night
by personalized and position-dependend variation of inten-
sity and/or color of the light  .
B. Adaptive Park Bench
Adaptive Park benches are a kind of smart seats, that can
adjust to individual anthropometric measures of people.
Thereby the usability of the seats is enhance which in turn
also enhances safe usage. Particularly older people face se-
vere problems in sitting down and standing up at common
seats. The reason is that, the gap between standover and the
height of the seat surface imposes trouble when the older
people have weakened leg muscles, impaired balance or
general difficulties in bending their knees. For this reason
the seat surface of the adaptive park bench can lift up to the
standover of a pedestrian, which actively supports in sitting
down and standing up. For ergonomic sitting the seat surface
will be adjusted to the sitting person’s popliteal height. More
technical details are described in  .
C. Information Radiators
Information Radiators are a class of devices capable of
displaying dynamic information while installed at a static
Fig 2. This figure is the representation of the so-called Smart Urban Design Space (SUDS). It shows the basic categories SUO, Aid and Person, with
the available properties. By combining the properties of these categories addressed by the corresponding use case, a visualization similar to a dendo -
gram is generated. Furthermore in this figure, the three use cases are arranged in the SUDS. These use cases include the Adaptive Lighting, the
Adaptive Park Bench and the Information Radiator, each of which is marked in the legend.
PHILIPP SKOWRON ET AL.: SMART URBAN DESIGN SPACE 495
position in a public or semi-public environment. They can
range from large interactive screens which can be used via
touch, to small low-power devices equipped with low-reso-
lution LED displays. The informational content they show is
related to the local context. This includes, but is not limited
to, offerings by commercial and noncommercial actors in
the vicinity (such as stores, restaurants, cinemas, community
centers, sports clubs, etc). The concept is discussed in more
detail in .
As a result of the taxonomy of the SUDS developed in
this paper, a rather interdisciplinary classification of the so-
called SUOs has been successfully achieved, without getting
stuck in technical details in this context, nor without too
one-sided a view of social criteria affecting the user. In this
context, the previous SUOs were specifically classified in
the SUDS (see Figure 3). The SUOs classified so far include
Adaptive Lighting, the Adaptive Park Bench and the Infor-
mation Radiators. In addition to these existing SUOs, there
is also the possibility of continuously classifying new ones
in order to visualize the essential aspects of the local field of
knowledge. The classification in this taxonomy (Figure 3)
shows that more or less all SUOs have similar characteristics
regarding their categories. For example, in relation to the in-
teraction sensor, which is only haptically or optically pro-
nounced in all previous objects. Consequently, an essential
motivation for further SUOs would be to include acoustic
signals in order to increase the intersection between the tech-
nical and personal skills.
VII. CONCLUSION AND OUTLOOK
Concerning the research question within this article, a tax-
onomy called SUDS was constructed which merges the re-
quired aspects of AAL, Public Health and technical aspects
and makes them usable for integrating so-called SUOs.
In the future, potentially beneficial SUOs could be deter -
mined and designed with the support of the SUDS, which do
justice to the aspects of AAL and Public Health without vio-
lating the technical conditions.
This work was fully conducted in the scope of the re-
search project UrbanLife+ (16SV7442), funded by the Ger-
man Ministry of Education and Research.
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