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Seeing like a bridge – designing smart public infrastructure

Thursday, December 6, 10:45-12:45h

In this workshop we will take a deep dive into some of the challenges of designing smart public infrastructure.

Smart city ideas are moving from hype into reality. The everyday things that our contemporary world runs on, such as roads, railways and canals are not immune to this development. Basic, “hard” infrastructure is being augmented with internet-connected sensing, processing and actuating capabilities. We are involved as practitioners and researchers in one such project: the MX3D smart bridge, a pedestrian bridge 3D printed from stainless steel and equipped with a network of sensors.

The question facing everyone involved with these developments, from citizens to professionals to policy makers is how to reap the potential benefits of these technologies, without degrading the urban fabric. For this to happen, information technology needs to become more like the city: open-ended, flexible and adaptable.  And we need methods and tools for the diverse range of stakeholders to come together and collaborate on the design of truly intelligent public infrastructure.

We will explore these questions in this workshop by first walking you through the architecture of the MX3D smart bridge—offering a uniquely concrete and pragmatic view into a cutting edge smart city project. Subsequently we will together explore the question: What should a smart pedestrian bridge that is aware of itself and its surroundings be able to tell us? We will conclude by sharing some of the highlights from our conversation, and make note of particularly thorny questions that require further work.


Alec Shuldiner

Dr. Alec Shuldiner builds big data systems and runs IoT projects for Autodesk, Inc., which makes software for people who make things.

Kars Alrink

Kars Alfrink (MA, Utrecht School of the Arts) is a designer, researcher and educator focused on the intersection of emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.

Currently, Kars is a doctoral candidate at Delft University of Technology’s faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, researching the design of smart public infrastructure for intelligibility as part of the NWO-funded project ‘BRIdging Data in the built Environment (BRIDE)’.

He is also a co-founder and coordinator of Tech Solidarity NL, a grassroots community of tech workers in the Netherlands advancing the design and development of more just and egalitarian technology.

Until recently, Kars was partner at Hubbub, a boutique playful design agency which he founded in 2009.

Kars also initiated and co-curated the Dutch offshoot of This Happened, a series of events about the stories behind interaction design. He has worked as an educator and researcher at the Utrecht School of the Arts, and before that as an interaction designer at a couple of web agencies.

Get your ticket!

Program Day 1

Our program on Thursday the 12th

Day 1 of Thingscon 2019 we will shape the future narratives of the responsible IoT and beyond together. You can dive deep with peers, thought leaders, innovators, and researchers from the ThingsCon community and beyond:

Full program

Program Day 2

Our program on Friday the 13th

Day 2 of Thingscon 2019 is about the current state of the responsible IoT. You can get inspiration from thought leaders and practitioners from the field, get hands-on with the latest tools & insights and be part of the leading discours. To end Thingscon will present a State of the Responsible IoT in 2019:

Full program


12 / 13 December, Rotterdam

Date and time

Thursday, 12 dec. 2019, 09:00 – 19:00 (CET)
Friday, 13 dec. 2019, 09:00 – 20:00 (CET)


Het Nieuwe Instituut
25 Museumpark, 3015 CB Rotterdam (map)

Speakers & hosts

Our speakers & hosts

We are happy to announce our keynote speakers and hosts for sessions and workshops. These include:

Marleen Stikker
Tracy Rolling
Heather Wiltse
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
Klasien van de Zandschulp
Mirena Papadimitriou
Davide Gomba
Wouter Reeskamp

But wait, there are many more:

All our Speakers & hosts