Smart cities become creative islands

Table of Contents:

So there are some key lessons here then for the sustainable development of small islands as creative islands, particularly when we look at how knowledge-based, creative and cultural sectors can improve resilience. The implementation of technology in these islands will not be the same as in cities, given the often dispersed and polycentric nature of SIDS.

Developing a concept for smart island development should therefore encompass not just a focus on technology deployment and implementation but an integration of the development of education, knowledge-based creative innovation, entrepreneurial ecosystems and governance within a human-centred framework driven to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits.

This description deliberately goes beyond the normal smart city or smart island narrative to encompass ideas of smart as creative, knowledge-based social and cultural structures. Smart in this instance then brings technology, human-centred creative innovation and sustainable development together to create a more rounded and cogent form of the term.

The most important aspect of smart island development is in improving the lives of its citizens by building resilience and sustainable, inclusive growth. Technology is a valuable tool here but is not the end in itself. The solution is to integrate the implementation of SDGs, aligned to digital-creative innovation and enabled by the use of industry 4.0 technologies. Smart islands then become more than just the transplanting of smart city ideas of the governance of people, traffic and energy flows through loT technologies and big data. Smart islands in this concept then become creative islands, an idea based around the human meaning of the term.


The creation of technology-enabled, but human-centred open innovation ecosystems, focused on creative knowledge-based sustainable economic development presents an opportunity for SIDS that has had little discussion up to this point. Whilst these technologies have seen localised reports on applications for specific sectors in these regions, namely around tourism, the appreciation of the broader transformative aspects still require research and strategic direction. The ability to drive private sector investment will be cmcial in order to create the entrepreneurial and innovation landscape that this transformation will require, but this has to be done in conjunction with the delivery of greater education and skills around the creative, social and cultural impacts and uses.

This will allow island governments and communities to not only connect with the new global trade systems created by this technology but also deliver real, on-the-ground applications and impacts. If these elements can be implemented to support 4IR transformation for SIDS, then it can go a considerable way to ameliorating the vulnerabilities we discussed in the opening chapter.


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