Understanding Smart Cities: Inputs for Research and Practice

Introduction

Smart cities are envisioned as the future of technology-enabled, resilient, sustainable, creative, and livable urban human settlements in the world. It is increasingly becoming part of the vision of the national governments wherein technologies are massively used to improve the processes surrounding all dimensions of urban development, planning, and management. Various domain experts such as civil engineering specialists, information and communication technology (ICT) specialists, process consultants, private corporations, and government departments are required to work together to plan and implement how the smart city will be understood, conceptualized, designed, and maintained. On a more holistic scope, smart cities can be explored as an assemblage of ICTs, public policy, process reengineering for sustainability, urban development, and citizen participation in public life.

Since 2011, contribution in the smart city has been examined by scholars from diverse disciplines—information systems, political economy, economics, urban planning, public administration, public policy, and so on. Basically, the relationship between technology and society creates a situation like actor-network theory (Soderstrom et al., 2014), where technology becomes an enabler and partner in realizing many of the societal needs and process improvements, and vice versa. Several discussions have been raised in the literature related to the impact of ICTs in cities. With the increase in digital technologies, which enable urban planning, policy makers realize the connection between urban development and ICTs, and how ICTs can impact the outcome of urban development initiatives.

Advances in Smart Cities: Smarter People, Governance, and Solutions

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Literature has shown that the smart city has been represented with different concepts over a period of time, such as networked cities (Castells, 2001); techno cities (Downey and McGuigan, 1999); cyber cities (Graham and Marvin, 1999); creative cities (Florida, 2005); and digital cities (Komninos, 2009). The concept of the smart city was first introduced in academic literature in the 1990s. However, since then, no detailed definition has been standardized that can fit into all the dimensions of the city. This may stem from a lack of empirical validation of proposed frameworks, and a gap between practice and academia. This book is a modest attempt to fill this gap by bridging fundamental research at the academic space and practitioner-based standards.

An exploration into academic literature highlights that there are six important dimensions of smart cities that have been explored typically, namely smart economy, smart people, smart governance, smart mobility, smart environment, and smart living (Chatterjee and Kar, 2015; Chauhan et al., 2016). An exploration into practitioner-oriented literature on urban management (ISO 37120:2014) highlights the presence of areas surrounding economic and societal indicators; education management; energy management; environment management; financial management; emergency management, public policy and governance; health-care management; recreation facilities; safety, shelter, and housing facilities; waste management; telecommunication management; transportation and logistics management; urban planning; water resource management; and sanitation. An attempt has been made in Figure 1.1 to integrate these indicators for defining the focus areas of smart cities.

In subsequent sections, we explore what these pillars of smart cities actually entail and what could be explored for research and development, under these pillars.

FIGURE 1.1

Integration of academic and practitioner literature to define the pillars of smart cities.

 
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