Smart Cities + Smart Environments

Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury in extended reality XR bubble at futuristic Pavilion by University of Miami Rad-UM Lab illustration by Christopher Chung

Smart Cities + Smart Environments

A smart city utilizes information derived from the quantification of dynamic processes and phenomena such as weather, traffic, or even prevailing moods to design, manage, and maintain more sustainable and resilient communities.  City planning and management has traditionally relied on a variety of data for analysis and daily operation but information technology has exponentially expanded the reach, diversity, and magnitude of data now available in real time to deepen our understanding of the urban ecosystem and guide intervention within it. Smart cities now integrate data from information and communication technologies as well as various physical devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT), to optimize municipal operations and services, create new kinds of experiences and opportunities while intensifying interaction with citizens.

IDSC Smart Cities + Smart Environments research tackles data collecting technology as well as data analytics, and seeks innovation and utilization in both hardware and software applications. IDSC builds on this research to provide design services for the planning and implementation of smart cities in the region and around the world.  This combination puts IDSC in a unique position to leverage computational resources along with expertise in physical computing and data analytics to design the next generation of smart cities.

Rodolphe el-Khoury iDSC Smart Cities



Rodolphe el-Khoury, PhD
Director, IDSC Smart Cities + Smart Environments

In addition to his role in IDSC, Dr. Rodolphe el-Khoury is Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture. He was Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto, Head of Architecture at California College of the Arts, and Associate Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design. He also taught at Columbia University, Rhode Island School of Design, and Princeton University, and has had Visiting Professor appointments at MIT, University of Hong Kong, and Rice University (Cullinen Visiting Chair).

Dean el-Khoury was trained as a historian and as a practitioner and continues to divide his time between scholarship and design. His books on eighteenth-century European architecture include: 

Books on contemporary architecture and urbanism include:

As a partner in Khoury Levit Fong (KLF), his award-winning projects include Beirut Martyrs’ Square (AIA San Francisco), MOCAPE, Shenzhen (AIA Cleveland), Market Square, Stratford (Boston Society of Architects). In 2012 KLF won international design competitions for a planning exhibition hall in Changzhi, China, and for the revitalization of Copley Square in Boston. El-Khoury’s KLF projects and installations were exhibited in solo and group show at InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Center, the Arthur Gallery, and Harbourfront Center in Toronto. International venues include the CMY Gallery at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, The Keller Gallery at MIT in Cambridge; the 2007 DesCours New Media Festival in New Orleans, the 2008 Casablanca Biennale, the 2011 Chengdu Biennale.

His current research in architecture focuses on applications for information technology aiming for enhanced responsiveness and sustainability in buildings and cities. Articles on his projects and research have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Globe, The Daily Mail, The Toronto Star, and WIRED Magazine. He was also featured online (Gizmodo, DeZeen, Fast Company, Domus, Reuters) and on television/radio shows (CBC, Space Channel, NBC, TFO, and BBC World). His work in this area is documented in “The Living, Breathing, Thinking Responsive Buildings of the Future”, Thames and Hudson, 2012.

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, el-Khoury found his passion early in life. He received a doctorate degree in Philosophy, and a Master of Arts in Architectural History from Princeton University, as well as a Master of Science in Architecture Studies from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design. During his stellar career, he has taught at Harvard University, MIT, University of Hong Kong, Princeton University, and Columbia University, among others.

Dean el-Khoury was a guest on the “Future of the American City” podcast by the Harvard Graduate School of Design Office for Urbanization in a conversation entitled: “Responsive Technologies and the Public Realm” (listen). He also spoke at TEDxToronto 2013 about his designs for the “Internet of Things.” He aims to put every brick online and believes that “embedded technology empowers networked environments to better address the environmental and social challenges we face today.”


Responsive Technologies and the Public Realm podcast with Rodolphe el-Khoury, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Office for Urbanization, Future of the American City series          Rodolphe el-Khoury TEDx Talk "Designing for the Internet of Things"