Special Issue "Revisiting the Smart City Concept"

A special issue of Smart Cities (ISSN 2624-6511).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Zaheer Allam
Website
Guest Editor
Live+Smart Research Lab, School of Architecture and Built Environment, Deakin University, Australia
Interests: political economy; smart cities; sustainability; urban regeneration; urban governance and policies; social inclusivity
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. David S. Jones
Website
Guest Editor
School of Architecture and Built Environment, Deakin University, Australia
Interests: landscape architecture; culture; indigenous knowledge systems; heritage; design innovation; urban planning; resilience; climate change; smart cities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Historically, as the concept of Smart Cities unfolded and gained traction globally, ICT corporations pushed for the adoption of off-the-shelf solutions. While this was initially seen as innovative, off-the-shelf solutions are no longer accepted as they often overlook the basic tenets of the Smart Cities concept. In reality, most off-the-shelf solutions fail to acknowledge issues like the decision-making processes of different cities, their regulatory landscapes and the basic problems and challenges that need to be solved across jurisdictions and communities. As a result, ICT corporations are accused of shifting attention from the big and important questions of the Smart Cities concept and its implementation to minute issues with little impact on cities but the ability to increase profit margins.

Today, the disconnect and lack of communication concerning the solutions is apparent in and between cities. This prompts a number of questions as to the effectiveness of these solutions for the larger global goals of the smart city concept. This debate is particularly important at a time when the world is saturated with (new and evolving) technologies that could be exploited to bring about solutions that cross-cut and those with the potential to be customized for different cities. Therefore, going forward, it is paramount that we take a few steps back and think in retrospect about the larger goals of Smart Cities. We must attempt to study conceptual dimensions that can better guide the rush towards specialized solutions. Global challenges like the increasing incidences of climate change and the increasing demands prompted by the rapid rate of urbanization, unprecedented population increases, limited land use, floating cities, and how they affect the global landscape need to be given maximum attention. The retrospection should be guided by the practical social as well as economic implications of implementing this concept, particularly because transition to a digital economy has been observed to be capital intensive, particularly in the global south and in developing economies where unsustainable debt cycles are explored as financing means. Hence, the obtained solutions are often disproportionate to the risks. A critical look at those issues at a conceptual and larger level would, to a great extent, ensure that the rush towards specialized solutions is justified and caters first and foremost to the welfare of the cities and its citizens (and the hidden animal life within).

As such, we welcome submissions that revisit, critique, challenge, and contribute to the Smart Cities concept, with the aim of highlighting new and different viewpoints that re-align efforts by ICT corporations to deliver better and more cohesive and inclusive Smart City solutions.

Dr. Zaheer Allam
Prof. Dr. David S. Jones
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Smart Cities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Smart Cities
  • urban growth
  • big data
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • urban policy
  • technology
  • sustainability and resilience
  • urban health
  • energy
  • coastal and land use policies

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Democratising Smart Cities? Penta-Helix Multistakeholder Social Innovation Framework
Smart Cities 2020, 3(4), 1145-1172; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities3040057 - 06 Oct 2020
Abstract
The smart cities policy approach has been intensively implemented in European cities under the Horizon 2020 programme. However, these implementations not only reduce the interdependencies among stakeholders to technocratic Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) models, but also fail to question the identities of strategic stakeholders and [...] Read more.
The smart cities policy approach has been intensively implemented in European cities under the Horizon 2020 programme. However, these implementations not only reduce the interdependencies among stakeholders to technocratic Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) models, but also fail to question the identities of strategic stakeholders and how they prioritise their business/social models. These aspects are putting democracy at stake in smart cities. Therefore, this article aims to unfold and operationalise multistakeholders’ policy frameworks from the social innovation perspective by suggesting the ex-novo penta-helix framework—including public, private, academia, civic society, and social entrepreneurs/activists—to extend the triple and quadruple-helix frameworks. Based on fieldwork action research conducted from February 2017 to December 2018—triangulating desk research, 75 interviews, and three validation workshops—this article applies the penta-helix framework to map out five strategic dimensions related to (i) multistakeholder helix framework and (ii) the resulting business/social models comparatively in three follower cities of the H2020-Replicate project: Essen (Germany), Lausanne (Switzerland), and Nilüfer (Turkey). For each case study, the findings reveal: (i) a unique multistakeholder composition, (ii) diverse preferences on business/social models, (iii) a regular presence of the fifth helix as intermediaries, and (iv) the willingness to experiment with democratic arrangements beyond the hegemonic PPP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisiting the Smart City Concept)
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Open AccessArticle
Replicating Smart Cities: The City-to-City Learning Programme in the Replicate EC-H2020-SCC Project
Smart Cities 2020, 3(3), 978-1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities3030049 - 08 Sep 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article addresses the problem of replication among smart cities in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020: Smart Cities and Communities (EC-H2020-SCC) framework programme. This article initially sets the general policy context by conducting a benchmarking about the explicit replication strategies followed by each [...] Read more.
This article addresses the problem of replication among smart cities in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020: Smart Cities and Communities (EC-H2020-SCC) framework programme. This article initially sets the general policy context by conducting a benchmarking about the explicit replication strategies followed by each of the 17 ongoing EC-H2020-SCC lighthouse projects. This article aims to shed light on the following research question: Why might replication not be happening among smart cities as a unidirectional, hierarchical, mechanistic, solutionist, and technocratic process? Particularly, in asking so, it focuses on the EC-H2020-SCC Replicate project by examining in depth the fieldwork action research process implemented during 2019 through a knowledge exchange webinar series with participant stakeholders from six European cities—three lighthouse cities (St. Sebastian, Florence, and Bristol) and three follower-fellow cities (Essen, Lausanne, and Nilüfer). This process resulted in a City-to-City Learning Programme that reformulated the issue of replication by experimenting an alternative and an enhanced policy approach. Thus, stemming from the evidence-based policy outcomes of the City-to-City Learning Programme, this article reveals that a replication policy approach from the social innovation lenses might be enabled as a multidirectional, radial, dynamic, iterative, and democratic learning process, overcoming the given unidirectional, hierarchical, mechanistic, solutionist, and technocratic approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Revisiting the Smart City Concept)
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