Currently, the construction of smart cities (SCs) has been booming all over the world and it also acts as a useful tool for the Chinese government to promote the sustainable development of cities. Identifying the aspects of SCs and systematically evaluating the level of smart city construction are significant for urban management and healthy development. Based on the bibliometrics and Chinese experience with smart city construction, this paper firstly proposes dividing the smart city system into four subsystems, that is, smart infrastructure, smart economy, smart governance and smart participation and to establish their corresponding indicator systems. Information entropy method and grey correlation analysis are then adopted to determine the weight of each indicator and evaluate the city smartness level respectively. After that, 20 major cities in China are taken as cases for evaluation. The evaluation is performed on the grey correlation degree of these cities and their variations between 2012 and 2016. Through the further comparison of regional distribution and clustering analysis of these cities, the paper points out the general characteristics and level differences of smart city construction in China. Finally, some policy implications are proposed to improve the smartness level for Chinese cities.
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