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Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1998; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061998

Who Uses Smart City Services and What to Make of It: Toward Interdisciplinary Smart Cities Research

1
School of Business, Deree College—The American College of Greece, 153-42 Athens, Greece
2
Effat College of Engineering, Effat University, P.O. Box 34689, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3
Effat College of Business, Effat University, P.O. Box 34689, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 3 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research)
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Abstract

As research on smart cities garners increased attention and its status consolidates as one of the fanciest areas of research today, this paper makes a case for a cautious rethink of the very rationale and relevance of the debate. To this end, this paper looks at the smart cities debate from the perspectives of, on the one hand, citizens’ awareness of applications and solutions that are considered ‘smart’ and, on the other hand, their ability to use these applications and solutions. Drawing from a detailed analysis of the outcomes of a pilot international study, this paper showcases that even the most educated users of smart city services, i.e., those arguably most aware of and equipped with skills to use these services effectively, express very serious concerns regarding the utility, safety, accessibility and efficiency of those services. This suggests that more pragmatism needs to be included in smart cities research if its findings are to remain useful and relevant for all stakeholders involved. The discussion in this paper contributes to the smart cities debate in three ways. First, it adds empirical support to the thesis of ‘normative bias’ of smart cities research. Second, it suggests ways of bypassing it, thereby opening a debate on the preconditions of sustainable interdisciplinary smart cities research. Third, it points to new avenues of research. View Full-Text
Keywords: smart cities; ‘normative bias’ of smart cities research; sustainable development; privacy; services; smart villages; innovation clusters; innovation networks; data protection; value adding services; international technology transfer smart cities; ‘normative bias’ of smart cities research; sustainable development; privacy; services; smart villages; innovation clusters; innovation networks; data protection; value adding services; international technology transfer
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Lytras, M.D.; Visvizi, A. Who Uses Smart City Services and What to Make of It: Toward Interdisciplinary Smart Cities Research. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1998.

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