Special Issue "Building Smart and Sustainable Cities: Emerging Technologies and Innovation for Digital-Era Governance and Long-Term Impacts"
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.
Interests: collaborative digital government; inter-organizational information integration; smart cities and smart governments; adoption and implementation of emergent technologies; digital divide policies; multimethod research approaches
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Interests: digital government; open government; smart cities and communities; public and open innovation; adoption and use of technology; qualitative research methods
Although cities around the world are already implementing an array of initiatives in an attempt to become smarter, there is still no consensus among researchers and practitioners about what should be included or not in the conceptualization of “smartness” (Gil-Garcia, Zhang and Puron-Cid, 2016). Similar to other topics related to digital governance, some definitions draw attention to the technological elements, while others to the development of human capital, environmental sustainability, or physical infrastructure, among other aspects (Gil-Garcia, Pardo, and Nam, 2015). However, it seems to be clear now that smart cities are not only about harnessing the potential of new data and emergent information technologies, but that many other components are essential to achieve some of the promises in terms of better services and improved quality of life (Gasco-Hernandez and Gil-Garcia, 2017; Gil-Garcia, Helbig and Ojo, 2014). One of these important components of smart cities is sustainability as it is broadly understood (Gasco-Hernandez, 2009; Webster and Leleux, 2019; Encalada at al., 2017; Errichiello and Micera, 2018).
We argue that no matter what definition scholars and practitioners use, what seems to be clear is that smart city success should involve being sustainable in the medium and long term. Sustainability could be understood as the results’ duration and persistence over time. In this respect, sustainability could be seen as the ultimate test of a smart city strategy’s success, since it evaluates if its positive outcomes will last through time, no matter the technical or environmental changes that may take place (Gasco-Hernandez, 2009). The infrastructure and technology must be maintained and updated, but more importantly, the benefits of smart cities should persist over time. Therefore, in order to be sustainable, smart cities need to consider many different aspects of the urban context, particularly in terms of long-term results. However, the literature has explored environmental sustainability almost exclusively, and we believe that for a city to be really sustainable, other dimensions of sustainability need to be further considered.
Indeed, sustainability in this smart city context is not only about the natural environment but also includes economic, political, and social aspects, as well as their results in the long term. First, economic and financial resources can influence the capability of the government to develop and sustain smart cities (Jiang et al., 2019). Second, in order to achieve social sustainability, smart cities should include a focus not only on service delivery but also on sustainable mechanisms of citizen engagement (Webster and Leleux, 2019) and knowledge sharing among collaborators (Rădulescu et al., 2020). Social sustainability in smart cities could lead to more inclusiveness and a richer appropriation of technology, making the city resilient (Aurigi and Odendaal, 2020) and enabling better management outcomes (Errichiello and Micera, 2018). Lastly, political sustainability matters for smart city initiatives to achieve their intended goals and be viable in the long-term. For instance, Van den Bergh and Viaene (2016) reveal that political willingness, commitment, and smart city leadership play a crucial role in the implementation and endurance of smart city initiatives. Thus, it is clear that there are many dimensions to smart cities’ sustainability, but the current literature has not adequately addressed all of them.
Therefore, this Special Issue of Sustainability entitled “Building Smart and Sustainable Cities: Emerging Technologies and Innovation for Digital-Era Governance and Long-Term Impacts” attempts to address a research need in terms of studies focusing on the (ecological, economic, social, and political) sustainability of smart cities. For instance, what needs to be done to achieve smart city long-term sustainability? How can we better assess these dimensions of sustainability in the context of smart cities? How do these dimensions relate to environmental sustainability? Accordingly, the Special Issue invites original, novel, and high-quality papers that advance our current understanding of smart and sustainable cities, including the role of emerging technologies and innovation in long-term urban governance. It takes a comprehensive perspective and attempts to bridge the gap between sound research and practice expertise in the area of smart and sustainable cities, including innovations in policy, management, technology, and data aspects. We welcome manuscripts encompassing conceptual approaches, theoretical frameworks, empirical research, and case studies of cities from all around the globe.
The Special Issue focuses on topics that include but are not limited to:
- Smart cities and their sustainability in the long term;
- Importance of (ecological, economic, and social) sustainability for smart cities;
- Theories and analytical frameworks to study smart and sustainable cities;
- Fundamental concepts underlying smart city initiatives, including sustainability aspects;
- Relationships between smartness and sustainability in cities;
- Emergent technologies and their implications for smart cities, including sustainability;
- The role of innovative strategies in smart cities, including sustainability aspects;
- Rigorous empirical studies about smart cities;
- Case studies of smart city initiatives;
- Research-based practical recommendations for making cities smarter;
- Evaluation tools and strategies for smart city initiatives;
- Public value assessment models for smart city initiatives;
- Governance models for smart cities;
- Managerial implications of smart city initiatives;
- Implementation of smart city initiatives.
Aurigi, Alessandro and Nancy Odendaal (2020). From “Smart in the Box” to “Smart in the City”: Rethinking the Socially Sustainable Smart City in Context, Journal of Urban Technology, DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2019.1704203
Encalada L, Boavida-Portugal I, Cardoso Ferreira C, Rocha J. Identifying Tourist Places of Interest Based on Digital Imprints: Towards a Sustainable Smart City. Sustainability. 2017; 9(12):2317.
Errichiello, L., & Micera, R. (2018). Leveraging Smart Open Innovation for Achieving Cultural Sustainability: Learning from a New City Museum Project. Sustainability, 10(6), 1964.
Gasco-Hernandez, M. (2009). Criterios para evaluación de buenas prácticas en el ámbito del uso de las tecnologías de la información y las comunicaciones (Criteria to assess good practices related to the use of information and communication technologies). Barcelona: Fundació Pi i Sunyer.
Gasco, Mila and J. Ramon Gil-Garcia. (2017). Is It More than Using Data and Technology in Local Governments? Identifying Opportunities and Challenges for Cities to Become Smarter. UMKC Law Review, 85(4): 915-924.
Gil-Garcia, J. Ramon, Jing Zhang, and Gabriel Puron-Cid. (2016). Conceptualizing Smartness in Government: An Integrative and Multi-Dimensional View. Government Information Quarterly, 33 (3): 524–534.
Gil-Garcia, J. Ramon, Natalie Helbig and Adegboyega Ojo. (2014). Being smart: Emerging Technologies and Innovation in the Public Sector. Government Information Quarterly, 31 (Supplement 1): I1-I8.
Gil-Garcia, J. Ramon, Theresa A. Pardo and Taewoo Nam. (2015). What Makes a City Smart? Identifying Core Components and Proposing an Integrative and Comprehensive Conceptualization. Information Polity, 20 (1): 61–87.
Jiang, H., Geertman, S., & Witte, P. (2019). Smart urban governance: An urgent symbiosis? Information Polity, 24(3), 245–269.
Rădulescu, C. M., Slava, S., Rădulescu, A. T., Toader, R., Toader, D.-C., & Boca, G. D. (2020). A Pattern of Collaborative Networking for Enhancing Sustainability of Smart Cities. Sustainability, 12(3), 1042.
Van den Bergh, J., & Viaene, S. (2016). Unveiling smart city implementation challenges: The case of Ghent. Information Polity, 21(1), 5–19.
Webster, C. W. R and Leleux, C. (2019) Searching for the Real Sustainable Smart City?. Information Polity, 24 (3): 229-244.
Dr. J. Ramon Gil-Garcia
Dr. Mila Gasco-Hernandez
Mr. Tzuhao Chen
Manuscript Submission Information
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- smart city
- sustainable city
- smart community
- emergent technologies
- urban context
- urban governance
- smart city initiative
- economic sustainability
- social sustainability
- political sustainability
- environmental sustainability