Since its emergence in late 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has swept through many cities around the world, claiming millions of lives and causing major socio-economic impacts. The pandemic occurred at an important historical juncture when smart solutions and technologies have become ubiquitous in many cities. Against this background, in this review, we examine how smart city solutions and technologies have contributed to resilience by enhancing planning, absorption, recovery, and adaptation abilities. For this purpose, we reviewed 147 studies that have discussed issues related to the use of smart solutions and technologies during the pandemic. The results were synthesized under four themes, namely, planning and preparation, absorption, recovery, and adaptation. This review shows that investment in smart city initiatives can enhance the planning and preparation ability. In addition, the adoption of smart solutions and technologies can, among other things, enhance the capacity of cities to predict pandemic patterns, facilitate an integrated and timely response, minimize or postpone transmission of the virus, provide support to overstretched sectors, minimize supply chain disruption, ensure continuity of basic services, and offer solutions for optimizing city operations. These are promising results that demonstrate the utility of smart solutions for enhancing resilience. However, it should be noted that realizing this potential hinges on careful attention to important issues and challenges related to privacy and security, access to open-source data, technological affordance, legal barriers, technological feasibility, and citizen engagement. Despite this, this review shows that further development of smart city initiatives can provide unprecedented opportunities for enhancing resilience to the pandemic and similar future events.
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