Artificial Intelligence Serving the Cities of the Future.

By 2050, about 75% of the world's population will residein cities, leading to a significant increase in urban density: this transition brings with it crucial challenges in terms of urban management and urban decay. Artificial Intelligence (AI) could play a crucial role in monitoring and improving the quality of urban life.

Often perceived as an abstraction relegated to research labs or sensationalist headlines, artificial intelligence (AI) is actually an increasingly tangible and influential presence in the daily fabric of our lives. Let's talk not only about technology, but how it shapes our cities and neighborhoods, concretely improving the quality of urban life day after day. Take, for example, the problem of urban decay-a complex challenge that requires accurate data collection and analysis to be effectively managed. AI gives us advanced tools to measure, monitor and respond to the needs of the urban environment, demonstrating that its application can be as practical as it is revolutionary.

Urban Challenges of the Future

With the expected increase in urban population, problems related to urban decay will be inevitable: cities will become more densely populated and the complexity of management and social problems will inevitably grow. Density can exacerbate problems such as congestion, infrastructure maintenance, and access to essential services, making effective management essential.

Notre Dame and Stanford's Innovative Approach.

A recent study conducted by the University of Notre Dame and Stanford University illustrated how AI can be used to address these challenges. The researchers developed a machine learning-based method to map urban decay in three model cities-San Francisco, Mexico City and South Bend, Indiana.

Using the YOLOv5 AI model, the researchers analyzed thousands of images from Google Street View to identify visible signs of urban decay: potholes, graffiti, trash, curtains, broken bars or windows, discolored or dilapidated facades, and weeds. This approach allows detailed mapping and monitoring of changes over time, providing a valuable database for urban planning.

In analyzing images collected from the same urban contexts, AI technology demonstrates its ability to identify the incidence of urban decay with spatial and temporal accuracy. This detailed analysis makes it possible to recognize specific factors of degradation in different neighborhoods, thus providing urban planners and policy makers with the tools they need to intervene effectively. The elements identified by AI can then be prioritized in maintenance and improvement activities, with the goal of elevating the quality of urban life. Through this information, targeted strategies can be developed to transform degraded urban spaces into livable and welcoming environments, contributing significantly to the well-being of citizens.

Advantages of Artificial Intelligence in Urban Degradation Management


Artificial Intelligence technology enables the identification and tracking of urban decay with high accuracy. Using advanced analytics on continuous images over time, AI is able to detect both small variations and long-term degradation trends, ensuring detailed and reliable monitoring of urban conditions.


The ability to predict and identify signs of degradation before they become major problems is one of the main advantages of AI. This proactivity allows administrations to act early, preventing the escalation of degradation and keeping the quality of the urban environment high.

Data-driven planning

The use of real, up-to-date data greatly improves the effectiveness of urban planning. Decisions based on sound data analysis enable optimization of resource allocation and implementation of public policies aimed at solving the most pressing problems.


AI methods can be applied on a large scale, covering entire cities or even regions, without requiring a commensurate increase in human and financial resources. This makes AI an extremely efficient tool for urban land monitoring and management, adaptable to different contexts and city sizes.

Conclusions and Future Prospects

Despite the obvious benefits, the use of Artificial Intelligence in urban management also raises some significant concerns. Privacy is a major ethical issue: the continuous collection of large volumes of data through cameras and sensors raises questions about how this data is used and who can access it. In addition, the reliability of collected data is crucial; errors or bias in the data can lead to incorrect decisions that could negatively affect entire communities.

However, the implementation of AI in city management promises to revolutionize the way we deal with urban problems. As technology evolves, our ability to manage urban challenges will also grow, allowing us to create more livable and sustainable urban environments. Research from Notre Dame and Stanford is a promising example of how AI can be used to significantly improve the quality of the urban environment and, consequently, the well-being of its inhabitants.

With studies like this, published in journals such as Scientific Reports, we are shaping a future in which technology and innovation drive the continuous improvement of our cities.

If you would like more information about the potential and applications of Artificial Intelligence in the context of city management and the urban challenges of the future, please contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.

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