Mastercard and Stanza create Connected City art installation

News, Smart Cities

A concept connected city of the future, where data gathered from sensors in all parts of the infrastructure helps make it smarter, is the subject of a newly unveiled art installation created by Mastercard and British artist Stanza.

The Emergent City – a miniature city skyline created using computer circuits – has gone on show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed as a concept of how future cities could use data gathered about their environment –  including temperature and noise – to help make them “smarter” places to live.

Information collected could be used to help control traffic flow and public transport systems, as well as offer insights into the economic health of a city by highlighting the spending patterns of its inhabitants.

The installation is part of Mastercard’s City Possible scheme, which is exploring new ways to develop urban areas using greater sharing of data to improve how cities are managed and maintained.


Mastercard’s Vice President of Global Cities, Sapan Shah, said large amounts of data is gathered already by urban infrastructure – for example by people tapping in and out on the London Underground and on buses – but it is not being captured and utilised properly, in this case to better manage congestion on public transport.

He argues that there is “lots more to be done” to make cities smarter and better places to live, especially in the face of rising migration to urban areas.

“Every month, the world’s urban population grows by six million and by 2050 more than 70% of the population will live in urban areas. Through our collaboration with Stanza, we are asking people to reimagine the possibilities for cities and urban centres in response to this growth,” he said.

“By applying our City Possible philosophy, ‘The Emergent City’ provides a space for people to interact, collaborate and consider the future of urban areas in new ways.

“Cities have been getting ‘smarter’ since their inception – but the inclusion of any new technology needs to ensure that we bring the entire community along to create inclusive, connected and dynamic places to live in the future.”

In response to concerns over data gathering and its impact on user privacy, Mr Shah added that “privacy is at the heart” of everything the finance tech firm designs, and that data gathered always “belongs to the user” and when collected would be “anonymised and aggregated” to protect users.

Chris Price
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