Innovation Challenge Andorra kicks off with City Science workshop


Yasushi Sakai

Yasushi Sakai

In January 2019, members of the City Science team traveled to Andorra to further explore Andorra’s innovation opportunity to improve urban wellbeing. This four-day workshop marked the start of Innovation Challenge Andorra and focused on topics related to tourism, energy, and mobility. The workshop served as a way for the teams to reconnect, meet members and stakeholders, and to bring together members from the City Science Network.

Each day the event began with morning talks from researchers of Actua, OBSA, and the MIT Media Lab, in addition to talks from Andorran stakeholders. Each afternoon concluded with a brainstorming session in a set topic area as outlined below. By the end of the week the researchers had new ideas on how to move forward with datasets, innovation potential, and sensorized systems, to continue to explore the region and its challenges and opportunities.

Monday, January 14, 2019: City Science Network Introductions

On Monday, teams from the City Science network met to discuss ongoing work and new projects. Marc Pons, the Director of Actua, welcomed the guests and gave demos of new work on their Andorra CityScope, DataHub, and city metrics. Luis Alonso updated the team on MIT’s international collaborations as well as the latest plans for Andorra. In addition, presentations were made on the HafenCity Lab, the Aalto Lab, and new projects at Taipei Tech. Media Lab team members from Panasonic and Toshiba Memory also attended.


Ariel Noyman

Tuesday, January 15, 2019: Urban Planning and Energy

The Tuesday morning session was open to the public and press and welcomed Gilbert Saboya, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Innovation. Minister Saboya noted that  "[Andorra] offer(s) an environment for implementing and integrating projects," making it an ideal place for researchers in part due to its small size.

The afternoon brainstorm on urban planning and energy looked into current systems in Andorra, and teams mapped out key players and stakeholders. Among other discussions, the team planned for a dynamic mapping system using the GAMA platform for agent based modeling. The platform will be able to shift to different scenarios and can be overlaid to different maps to reflect outcomes on a number of cities.

Tuesday’s full talks are available on Youtube, including talks from Minister Saboya from Andorra, Marc Pons from Actua, Nanako Yamazaki from Panasonic, and Luis Alonso, Maitane Iruretagoyena, and Phil Tinn from the MIT Media Lab.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019: Mobility

Local Andorrans joined the Wednesday brainstorm to help visitors better understand current mobility challenges. The team was also joined by the founder of Cicland, Andorra's first electric bike rental service. Teams tried to better understand and implement the city's current electric bike system in new ways to encourage assisted bike transport with an emphasis on targeting the tourism industry.

Thursday, January 17, 2019: Tourism

The team learned about MIT projects like TerMITes environmental sensors and Reversed Urbanism. Locals also presented the current tourist ecosystem in the country, from event planning, to ski and outdoor tourism, to wellness, and retail. In the brainstorm, teams discussed a way to focus on Andorra’s ability to be a wellness country and global center for people who want to disconnect, exercise, and energize.

To stay up-to-date with #InnovationChallengeAndorra and our work with this unique country, follow @MIT Cities on Facebook and Instagram, and Follow @Actua on Twitter

Related Content