Friday, 27 June 2014

Students' Honours Projects

The three honours students, Omar Ally, Jason van Staden and Candice Visser have recently completed their research proposals. They have presented their topics and received feedback from a panel.  The research which they will be conducting this year is summarised below.    
Omar Ally: 
My research topic is ‘Smart Cities from the Perspective of Braamfontein Youth: Results from an Importance-Performance Analysis’.  The younger subgroup is being targeted for a few reasons.  Braamfontein is home to many colleges and student residencies and as such has a large population of the district which is young.  The young locals will be able to give innovative perspectives on what a smart city should comprise given their day-to-day interaction with the area. 

Africa has its own background, history and culture. Consequently, to simply copy the successful implementation of another city may not be as successful in this context.  As an ever improving district with many change initiatives already under way, Braamfontein would be a good place to start.

In other smart city implementations, the characteristics of the smart city is determined by a group such as the government or an organisation that is at the helm of the smart city initiative.  The factors of the smart city that is developed by these groups are thrust on to the citizens and the city itself without regard as to whether the citizens actually want all of those factors to constitute the smart city.  The citizens also have little to no say in the addition of factors that they think may have been overlooked by the group or that they really would like to see in their city.
 The purpose of this research is to carry out an empirical survey of young adults through the application of an importance-performance analysis to determine the most important factors of a smart city from the perspective of these young adults in Braamfontein.  Young adults are defined as people between the ages of 18 – 35.
Jason van Staden:
My research topic aims to uncover important influential factors in determining a City of Johannesburg resident’s intention to use the city website. The website platform for interaction with the government is a key enabler of a smart city, as literature suggests many aspects of a ‘smart city’ can be facilitated, if not achieved through ‘smart interactions’ between the government and its residents. This ‘smart interaction’ can be conveniently achieved through the city’s website. There is however a problem that appears from literature: that the adoption and inherently the usage of government websites are quite low. This is primarily where my research comes in, as it aims to uncover potential reasons for this, by testing certain factors to see if they prove influential in describing a resident’s intention to use the City of Johannesburg’s website. The factors will be tested by surveying residents within the City of Johannesburg region.

My research will be able to provide valuable insight into key factors that determine a resident’s intention to use the City of Johannesburg’s website. This insight can then be translated into practice, as government authorities will have a starting point for deciding on what to focus website design and functionality, as well as emphasize market campaigns on the influential factors uncovered. This will then, potentially, increase adoption and help the city become smarter.     
Candice Visser:
I will be doing an importance – performance analysis on resident satisfaction. A large scale survey will be used to solicit responses from City of Johannesburg (COJ) residents.
The study will focus on current City of Johannesburg services provided within the dimensions of a smart city. The dimensions of a smart city identified from literature are Transport and Mobility, Participation in Governance of the City, Health and Safety, Habitat and Utilities, Entertainment/ Leisure, and Information and Communication Technologies. The intention of the study is to identify the service areas with the strongest correlation to satisfaction for residents, which would then indicate the smart city service needs of residents. The high priority service areas will hence be identified based on its importance to residents.

By uncovering the smart city needs of residents, this study will offer assistance to the City of Johannesburg by exploring relevant smart city initiatives as it relates to the South African context.