This article explores the significance of the “Smart city” concept by reviewing its key components, namely: Internet of Things (IoT), big (urban) data, and urban informatics/analytics, which are discussed against the background of two ongoing trends impacting everyone in the world—the Fourth Paradigm (the digital revolution) and rapid urbanization. China is seen as a great success story in the sense of how urbanization has driven a significant improvement in the economic wellbeing and prosperity of many of its citizens. Chinese expansion has come at a cost, and the question remains concerning the sustainability of the Chinese model. Along with this, the article suggests some of the short comings of the components of the Smart city concept and reflects on the human resource skills that will be required to implement Smart cities in the north. This is contrasted with the piecemeal way in which elements of the Smart city are being implemented in emerging economies. A process that very much seems to reflect fundamental technical and capacity issues that may hinder any blanket application of the Smart city in the emerging economies for a long time.
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