Research on smart cities matures and new interdisciplinary approaches to the study of smart cities are proposed. At the same time, problems pertinent to communities inhabiting rural areas tend to be addressed, as if by the way, i.e., as a part of discussions in neighboring fields of research, be it environmental studies, sociology, or agriculture. Arguably, the concept of ‘the village’ has been largely absent in the academic debate, even if rural areas and countryside communities have been a subject of concern for robust policy frameworks, such as the European Union’s Cohesion Policy and Common Agricultural Policy. As a result, when advances in sophisticated information and communication technology (ICT) led to the emergence of a rich body of research on smart cities, the application and usability of ICT in the context of a village remained underdiscussed in the literature. Through this Special Issue, and the Editors’ earlier research on this topic, the Editors hope that the idea of the ‘smart village’ will be introduced into the debate. Against this backdrop, the objective of this opening review is three-fold: (i) to outline the conceptual boundaries of the term smart village
, (ii) to highlight the thrust of the challenge inherent in smart villages research
, and (iii) to shed light on the smart village research
agenda as it unfolds. The relevance and validity of these claims are supported by references to research submitted to the Special Issue titled “Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research”.
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