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Special Issue "Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2018)

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Miltiadis D. Lytras

1. School of Business, Deree—The American College of Greece, 6 Gravias Street GR-153 42 Aghia Paraskevi Athens, Greece
2. Effat University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: cognitive computing; artificial intelligence; data science; bioinformatics; innovation; big data research; data mining; emerging technologies; information systems; technology driven innovation; knowledge management
Guest Editor
Prof. Anna Visvizi

1. School of Business, Deree—The American College of Greece, 6 Gravias Street GR-153 42 Aghia Paraskevi Athens, Greece
2. Effat University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: smart cities; migration; innovation networks; international business; political economy; economic integration; politics; EU, Central Europe, China

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Technological evolution is a continuous process for creating new opportunities to implement significant, high impact, humanistic visions. However, there is great concern about the current mode of exploiting technologies towards this objective. Research on smart cities, on the other hand, provides an excellent context for the cultivation of a collaborative, synergetic, community-driven integration of human minds, cultural individual contributions, launch of businesses, interoperability and even happiness. It is quite straightforward to realize that human happiness in urban settings is no longer a priority nor even an uttered phrase. We propose that the improvement of human happiness should be the highest objective of any smart city initiative, whether driven by technology or not.

The objective of this special issue is to disseminate the latest high quality, interdisciplinary research in the domain of urban computing and smart cities and to introduce also the concept of smart villages as a key response to the desertification of countryside through the adoption of integrative strategies for human development and economic growth with the use of sophisticated technology.

This Special Issue seeks to uncover and present the latest developments in meeting the needs of modern smart cities and smart villages towards sustainable development, prosperity and happiness for humanity.

For this Special Issue, we welcome papers dealing with case studies, literature review, survey findings, analytical methods, and tools. Examples of topics of interest include:

  • Studies on sustainable smart cities research;
  • Elaboration on the concept of smart villages;
  • Smart urban applications for different domains of human activity including education, transportation, energy, accessibility, policy making, governance, entertainment, collaboration, behavior etc.;
  • Advanced information and communication technologies for smart cities research including data mining, analytics, cloud computing, open source technologies, virtual and augmented reality, collaborative platforms, content management systems, etc.;
  • Policy-making and sustainable government initiatives for smart social businesses and entrepreneurship in villages and rural areas;
  • Case studies, prototypes and project deliverables related to smart cities research; Irregular migratory flows and smart villages initiatives;
  • Public consultation and open smart democracy.

Prof. Miltiadis D. Lytras
Prof. Anna Visvizi
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1700 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.


  • Smart Cities
  • Smart Villages
  • Smart urban applications
  • Data Mining
  • Analytics
  • Cloud computing and open source technologies
  • Sustainability
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Economic Growth
  • Irregular Migratory flows
  • Smart Technologies
  • ICTs
  • Open Democracy
  • Open Government
  • Smart Education
  • Smart Innovation

Published Papers (25 papers)

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Open AccessEditorial It’s Not a Fad: Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research in European and Global Contexts
1 School of Business, Deree College—The American College of Greece, 153-42 Athens, Greece
2 Effat College of Business, Effat University, P.O. Box 34689, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Effat College of Engineering, Effat University, P.O. Box 34689, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2727; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082727
Received: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
Abstract | Cited by 5PDF Full-text (227 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: Research on smart cities matures and new interdisciplinary approaches to the study of smart cities are proposed. At the same time, problems pertinent to communities inhabiting rural areas tend to be addressed, as if by the way, i.e., as a part of discussions in neighboring fields of research, be it environmental studies, sociology, or agriculture. Arguably, the concept of ‘the village’ has been largely absent in the academic debate, even if rural areas and countryside communities have been a subject of concern for robust policy frameworks, such as the European Union’s Cohesion Policy and Common Agricultural Policy. As a result, when advances in sophisticated information and communication technology (ICT) led to the emergence of a rich body of research on smart cities, the application and usability of ICT in the context of a village remained underdiscussed in the literature. Through this Special Issue, and the Editors’ earlier research on this topic, the Editors hope that the idea of the ‘smart village’ will be introduced into the debate. Against this backdrop, the objective of this opening review is three-fold: (i) to outline the conceptual boundaries of the term smart village, (ii) to highlight the thrust of the challenge inherent in smart villages research, and (iii) to shed light on the smart village research agenda as it unfolds. The relevance and validity of these claims are supported by references to research submitted to the Special Issue titled “Sustainable Smart Cities and Smart Villages Research”.


Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle The Creation of an Ecovillage: Handling Identities in a Norwegian Sustainable Valley
1 CICERO Center for International Climate Research, P.O. Box. 1129 Blindern, 0318 Oslo, Norway
2 Centre for Development and the Environment, University of Oslo, P.O. Box. 1116 Blindern, 0317 Oslo, Norway
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2074; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062074
Received: 29 April 2018 / Revised: 9 June 2018 / Accepted: 15 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
Abstract | Cited by 2PDF Full-text (1802 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: This paper presents a qualitative study of Hurdal Ecovillage in Norway. It explores how the actors involved have interacted over time and contributed to shaping the ecovillage. The study demonstrates that the ecovillage as a concept is continuously refined both internally on an individual level and in the village, and in mainstream society. At stake is the question of ecovillage identity and what this should entail. The interviewed ecovillagers report two main motives for deciding to move to the village. One is to become part of the ecovillage community, while the other is grounded in the ecovillage as a means to achieve sustainability rather than as a goal in itself. Hurdal Ecovillage has undergone two distinct development phases. First, the members jointly owned the land, built their own houses, and attempted to be self-sufficient. The ecovillage was largely isolated from the local community. In the second phase, professional actors took over responsibility for developing the village, offering ready-made houses to be owned by individual families. This shift resulted in the ecovillage appearing more like conventional settlements. Today’s ecovillagers express a wish to constitute an attractive, sustainable alternative to conventional living, but to do so they have to maintain a distance between themselves and the wider community.

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Open AccessArticle Who Uses Smart City Services and What to Make of It: Toward Interdisciplinary Smart Cities Research
1 School of Business, Deree College—The American College of Greece, 153-42 Athens, Greece
2 Effat College of Engineering, Effat University, P.O. Box 34689, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Effat College of Business, Effat University, P.O. Box 34689, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1998; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061998
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 3 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
Abstract | Cited by 22PDF Full-text (1061 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: As research on smart cities garners increased attention and its status consolidates as one of the fanciest areas of research today, this paper makes a case for a cautious rethink of the very rationale and relevance of the debate. To this end, this paper looks at the smart cities debate from the perspectives of, on the one hand, citizens’ awareness of applications and solutions that are considered ‘smart’ and, on the other hand, their ability to use these applications and solutions. Drawing from a detailed analysis of the outcomes of a pilot international study, this paper showcases that even the most educated users of smart city services, i.e., those arguably most aware of and equipped with skills to use these services effectively, express very serious concerns regarding the utility, safety, accessibility and efficiency of those services. This suggests that more pragmatism needs to be included in smart cities research if its findings are to remain useful and relevant for all stakeholders involved. The discussion in this paper contributes to the smart cities debate in three ways. First, it adds empirical support to the thesis of ‘normative bias’ of smart cities research. Second, it suggests ways of bypassing it, thereby opening a debate on the preconditions of sustainable interdisciplinary smart cities research. Third, it points to new avenues of research.

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Open AccessArticle Development and Challenges of Social Enterprises in Taiwan—From the Perspective of Community Development
1 College of Business Administration, National Huaqiao University, Quanzhou 362021, China
2 Graduate Institute of Global Business and Strategy, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 10645, Taiwan
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1797; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061797
Received: 29 March 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
Abstract | Cited by 3PDF Full-text (780 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: Social enterprises (SEs) have formed a naturally conscientious atmosphere in Taiwan, which has not only diluted the boundary between society and enterprises, but also transformed the inherent thinking of nonprofit organizations (NPOs). SEs operate under cross-organizational and cross-departmental models. For years, the rapid economic development of Taiwan has focused on the pursuit of profit without focusing on the development of NPOs. Only after the economy began to slow down did society gradually see a new trend based on the concept of SEs and the cultivation of community self-sufficiency to solve social problems. Its successful implementation is of great significance to the sustainable development of Taiwan. Community industry is based on the community and it is people-oriented. From the perspective of sustainable development, community industry is invested in economic activities and creates multiple benefits to a sustainable community and to social, environmental, cultural, financial, and other developments. From the early “production and welfare construction” to the “new hometown overall construction policy”, Taiwan has placed emphasis on inherent local industry activation, such as the establishment of local industrial exchange centers, local industry sustainable mechanism construction, local characteristic small community enterprises, as well as economic plans, including “Sustainable Employment Hope Project” and “Diverse Employment Development Program”, promoted by the Labor Commission since 2001. All of these are focused on building and developing a community industry, and relevant authorities look forward to the vitality of the community industry to create more job opportunities and community interests. Based on literature review of social enterprise, this paper leads small- and medium-sized community industries to meet the development of business models from the economic perspective of commercialization and the social perspective of social innovation in order to solve the quality crisis that is faced by nonprofit organizations and to maintain the sustainable development of the enterprise. By the design of a nonprofit and mutual-assistance mechanism, poverty relief results can be obtained. SEs, which are similar to regular enterprises, can encounter challenging business environments and they must also possess the ability to assume business risks. Specifically, SEs must consider the dual goals of having a social mission while achieving economic goals. This study provides a detailed understanding of the existence and operational characteristics of SEs in Taiwan.

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Open AccessArticle Sustainability in Smart Farms: Its Impact on Performance
1 Area of Business, ESIC Business & Marketing School, Madrid 28223, Spain
2 Department of Applied Economics I, University of Rey Juan Carlos, Paseo de Artilleros s/n, 28032 Madrid, Spain
3 Department of Animal Science, University of Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, 14071 Cordoba, Spain
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1713; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061713
Received: 24 March 2018 / Revised: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 24 May 2018
Abstract | Cited by 1PDF Full-text (926 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: In Spain, more than 30% of producers have run out of business because of a lack of sustainability. They search for managerial guidelines that allow them to reach the farm’s economic viability. When trying to improve the performance of farms and farming systems, a complementary consideration of sustainability dimensions is required. The aim of this paper consists of offering a complementary and integrative approach from the sustainability concept in four different dimensions: economic; technological; organizational; and training in Manchego Cheese Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). Sustainability through the putting into practice of some managerial concepts has been able to reach better results and smarter farms. To perform this study, metrics to analyze each of the mentioned dimensions of sustainability have been applied to a sample of 157 farms with the main objective to identify the sustainability dimensions and its impacts on farm’s final results promoting smarter farms. The Structural Equation Model (SEM) has been applied to measure the impact of each dimension of sustainability on final farm’s results. Results reported that the farm’s economic and organizational sustainability have been influenced by the returns on investment.

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Open AccessArticle Chemical Waste Management in the U.S. Semiconductor Industry
1 Department of Business Administration, National Central University, Taoyuan City 32001, Taiwan
2 SocialTech Research Group, Faculty of Business Administration, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City 700000, Vietnam
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1545; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051545
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 13 May 2018
Abstract | Cited by 3PDF Full-text (248 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: Sustainability has become the biggest concern of the semiconductor industry because of hundreds of high-purity organic and inorganic compounds involved in manufacturing semiconductors not being treated economically. The aim of this study was to understand how semiconductor companies manage their chemical wastes, by analyzing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxics Release Inventory data for hydrogen fluoride, nitric acid, ammonia, N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone, hydrochloric acid, nitrate compounds, and sulfuric acid. Cluster analysis was adopted to classify the U.S. semiconductor companies into different performance groups according to their waste management approaches. On the basis of the results, twenty-seven companies were classified in the “best performance” category for the waste management of two or more chemicals. However, 15 companies were classified in the worst performance categories. The semiconductor companies can refer to our results to understand their performance and which companies they should benchmark regarding chemical waste management. City governments can also refer to our results to employ suitable policies to reduce the negative impacts of the chemical waste from regional semiconductor companies.
Open AccessArticle Land Valuation Sustainable Model of Urban Planning Development: A Case Study in Badajoz, Spain
1 Environmental Resources Analysis Research Group (ARAM), University of Extremadura, 06006 Badajoz, Spain
2 VALORIZA—Research Centre for Endogenous Resource Valorization, 7300-110 Portalegre, Portugal
3 Polytechnic School, University of Extremadura, 10003 Caceres, Spain
4 Department of Landscape, Environment and Planning, School of Science and Technology, University of Évora, 7-671 Évora, Portugal
5 ICAAM—Institute for Agrarian and Environmental Sciences, University of Évora, 7-671 Évora, Portugal
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1450; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051450
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
Abstract | Cited by 1PDF Full-text (1990 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: The urban planning development process in urban territories has multiple consequences, not only in spatial structure but also in land valuation patterns. The economic value of land encompassed in municipal planning—which is associated with a certain urbanized use—increases as the planning processes evolve over these lands. For economic land valuation to comply with the required parameters of urban and territorial sustainable development, it is pivotal that in the determination of land value there are no expectations of difficult or impossible realizations, in order to eliminate any speculative element from the valuation. The land valuation model presented in the current study complies with this premise, proposing a sustainable land valuation model based on the evolution of urban planning development, achieving maximum value when it is fully urbanized. The main objective of the present work is to analyze how land value increases as municipal planning develops and to suggest a sustainable valuation model for land with urban use. Contextually, through a case study analysis, the development of municipal planning has been divided over time into four urban states: (i) land without detailed planning; (ii) land with detailed planning; (iii) land with re-parceling; and (iv) urbanized land. In this regard, the gradual evolution of land value which has reached different states over time has been determined, as has scenarios where the value has increased up to the value of urbanized land.

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Open AccessArticle Risk Management and Knowledge Management as Critical Success Factors of Sustainability Projects
1 Department of Informatics, Faculty of Business and Management, Brno University of Technology, Kolejní 2906/4, 612 00 Brno, Czech Republic
2 Institute of Automation and Computer Science, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Brno University of Technology, Technická 2896/2, 616 69 Brno, Czech Republic
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1438; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051438
Received: 27 March 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 2 May 2018 / Published: 5 May 2018
Abstract | Cited by 2PDF Full-text (3915 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: The paper is focused on the analysis of the key aspects of sustainability projects, namely advanced risk management and project knowledge. These aspects are recommended to the attention of institutions and project managers when designing and executing new projects simultaneously with quality and project status management. The aim of the paper is to point out the critical factors that have recently affected the success of sustainability projects, which is also its contribution. Empirical research focused on the identification of the application level of the post-project phases in project management in the Czech Republic in 2016 and 2017 was performed. The research was performed as qualitative research employing observation and inquiry methods in the form of a controlled semistructured interview. The research identified 21 most common reasons for not executing post-project phases. Ensuring good and efficient progress of post-project phases, in particular by the means of post-implementation system analysis and compilation of a set of improvement suggestions for subsequent project management, forms the practical background for application of knowledge management and project management principles. A case study focused on the application of fuzzy logic in project risk assessment has been elaborated. In practice, current project management requires the application of advanced risk analysis methods that will replace the simple risk values estimated by calculations of separate risk components.

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Open AccessArticle Digitalization and Environmental Aims in Municipalities
1 Strategic Sustainability Studies, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 114 28 Stockholm, Sweden
2 Ericsson, Stockholm 115 41, Sweden
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041278
Received: 16 February 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
Abstract | Cited by 2PDF Full-text (598 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: Many municipalities express a wish to use digital technologies to achieve environmental aims. However, there is still a need for a better understanding of how this should practically be done, both among municipalities and among ICT developers. We have used workshops and literature studies to formulate technological abilities of digitalization. We use two EU directives that are relevant for municipal environmental goals and combine the activities that these directives indicate with technological abilities of digitalization, in order to formulate practical implementations of digital technology to help these activities and reach the directives’ goals. We suggest that this method can be used for any municipal goal, as follows: (1) Identify the objective (in our case set by the EU-directives); (2) Identify what activities these points will require or generate; (3a) From a municipal viewpoint: Based on the results of 1 and 2, formulate and structure ideas of how digitalization can support the objectives and how those ideas can be implemented; (3b) From a provider’s viewpoint: Investigate what digital solutions supporting 1 and 2 exist, or how existing services can be tweaked to support the objectives and explore how new digital solutions supporting 1 and 2 can be developed.

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Open AccessArticle Distance Diffusion of Home Bias for Crowdfunding Campaigns between Categories: Insights from Data Analytics
1 College of Business Administration, Huaqiao University, Quanzhou 362021, China
2 College of Chen Shouren Business and Information, Quanzhou Normal University, Quanzhou 362000, China
3 School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
4 Graduate Institute of Global Business and Strategy, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 10645, Taiwan
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041251
Received: 25 March 2018 / Revised: 15 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
Abstract | Cited by 3PDF Full-text (13319 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: As the information communication and investment of crowdfunding campaigns are usually accomplished online, online crowdfunding theoretically breaks the limitation of space. However, investors’ behaviors still show significant home bias; furthermore, from a dynamic view, the changes in home bias during the funding duration reflect the investment preference. This paper studies the dynamics of home bias in crowdfunding investment as well as the distance diffusion of home bias in the crowdfunding market through data mining and econometric models. The distance between investors and founders gradually increases from 3605 km to 4229 km as the funding progresses, and home bias shows different diffusion patterns between categories. For most of the campaigns, the distance between backers and founders of the successful campaigns is always greater than that of the failed ones; thus, the distance diffusion impacts the pledge results. However, the study also finds that for some categories, home bias does not play a positive role in investment or that it even shows negative impacts, among which food and technology are two extreme categories. The study provides a theoretical basis from the perspective of user behavior to analyze online investment and to improve the promotion of crowdfunding campaigns.

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Open AccessArticle Spatial Evolution of Producer Service Sectors and Its Influencing Factors in Cities: A Case Study of Hangzhou, China
1 Department of Urban Planning, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310058, China
2 School of Planning, Design, and Construction & Center of Global Change and Earth Observation, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
3 School of Public Administration, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Hangzhou 310018, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040975
Received: 28 January 2018 / Revised: 19 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
Abstract | Cited by 1PDF Full-text (48505 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: Producer service industries are an important feature in the current development of a metropolis. Researchers from different countries are increasingly concerned about location changes and the motives of producer service sectors in cities. Given the rapid development of producer service sectors in developing countries, this study examines changes in the distribution of producer service sectors over the past decade and factors influencing them in a case study using the city of Hangzhou in China. Results show that Hangzhou’s producer service sector is still mainly concentrated in the central business district (CBD). However, a distinct trend of diffusion to suburban areas was observed, which formed several secondary clusters on the periphery of the city. Locations of the CBD, sub-centers, and professional clusters of producer service sectors established by the government are the most important factors that affect the spatial distribution of producer service sectors. The main influencing factors for the spatial evolution of producer service sectors are: (1) the high development cost and residential suburbanization of the central areas of the city promote the development of producer service sectors toward the periphery; (2) city planning has guided the clustering of producer service sectors on the city’s CBD and secondary city centers; (3) city renewal has provided personalized and diversified development space for producer service sectors; (4) incentive policies introduced by the government, such as rentals, and taxes have enhanced the orderly aggregation of producer service sectors.

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Improving Operational Risk Management Using Business Performance Management Technologies
Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, The Netherlands
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 640; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030640
Received: 21 January 2018 / Revised: 12 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
Abstract | Cited by 2PDF Full-text (850 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: Operational Risk Management (ORM) comprises the continuous management of risks resulting from: human actions, internal processes, systems, and external events. With increasing requirements, complexity and a growing volume of risks, information systems provide benefits for integrating risk management activities and optimizing performance. Business Performance Management (BPM) technologies are believed to provide a solution for effective Operational Risk Management by offering several combined technologies including: work flow, data warehousing, (advanced) analytics, reporting and dashboards. BPM technologies can be integrated with an organization’s Planning & Control cycle and related to strategic objectives. This manuscript aims to show how ORM can benefit from BPM technologies via the development and practical validation of a new maturity model. The B4ORM maturity model was developed following the Design Science Research approach. The maturity model relates specific maturity levels of ORM processes with BPM technologies applicable for a specific maturity stage. There appears to be a strong relationship (0.78) with ORM process maturity and supporting BPM technologies. The B4ORM maturity model as described in this manuscript provides an ideal path of BPM technologies related to six distinctive stages of ORM, leading towards technologies suitable for continuous improvement of ORM processes and organization-wide integration.

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Open AccessArticle Towards the Handling Demand Response Optimization Model for Home Appliances
1 Graduate Program in Applied Informatics, University of Fortaleza (UNIFOR), Fortaleza—CE 60811-905, Brazil
2 Department of Computing, Federal University of Piauí (UFPI), Teresina—PI 64049-550, Brazil
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030616
Received: 25 January 2018 / Revised: 16 February 2018 / Accepted: 22 February 2018 / Published: 27 February 2018
Abstract | Cited by 5PDF Full-text (4012 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: The Demand Response (DR) is used by public electric utilities to encourage consumers to change their consumption profiles to improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric power system (EPS) and at the same time to minimize the electricity costs for the final consumers. Normally, DR optimization models only aim to reduce the energy consumption and reduce the final cost. However, this disregards the needs of the consumer. Therefore, proposals which appear excellent in theory are usually impracticable and non-commercial. This paper proposes a real-time Demand Response (DR) optimization model to minimize the electricity costs associated with consumption without compromising the satisfaction or comfort of residential consumers. The proposed DR here considered the different home appliance categories and level of consumer satisfaction for the new load scheduling of the appliances and is much more comprehensive than the other models analyzed. Moreover, it can be applied in any country, under any energy scenario. This model was developed as a nonlinear programming problem subject to a set of constraints. An energy consumption analysis of 10 families for 2015 from five geographic and climatic regions of Brazil was carried out. A computational validation of the model was performed using a genetic algorithm (GA) to determine the programming of residential devices for the time horizon. The computational simulations showed a decrease in the cost of the electricity. Moreover, the results showed that there was no impairment to consumer satisfaction and comfort due to the scheduling of appliances.

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Open AccessArticle Smart Cities in Taiwan: A Perspective on Big Data Applications
1 College of Business Administration, National Huaqiao University, Quanzhou 362021, China
2 Graduate Institute of Global Business and Strategy, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei 10645, Taiwan
3 Management Information Systems, The American College of Greece, Athens 15342, Greece
4 Distinguished Scientist, King Abdulziz University, Jeddah 21589, Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010106
Received: 26 November 2017 / Revised: 31 December 2017 / Accepted: 2 January 2018 / Published: 4 January 2018
Abstract | Cited by 7PDF Full-text (1098 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: In this paper, we discuss the concept of a smart city based on information and communication technology (ICT), analyze the objectives of smart city development in Taiwan, and explain the supporting technologies that make such development possible. Subsequently, we propose a hierarchical structure framework of smart city systems with levels of complexity ranging from low to high and interconnections and interactive relationships in five dimensions: the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, Big Data, Mobile Network, and smart business. We integrate each key resource of the core operation systems of cities to promote the innovative operation of cities and further optimize city development. We then propose a Big Data platform data flow framework that uses information from ubiquitous sensor networks and information equipment to analyze the Big Data application process of smart cities and determine the resulting advantages and challenges. Additionally, we analyze the current state of development of smart cities in Taiwan. Finally, we discuss a new philosophy of smart city development and provide a practical blueprint for the formation, operation, and development of the smart cities with the aim of creating a bright future for the smart cities of Taiwan.

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Open AccessArticle Dynamic Evaluation of the Energy Efficiency of Environments in Brazilian University Classrooms Using DEA
1 Electrical Engineering, Technology Center, Federal University of Piauí, Teresina 64015-310, Brazil
2 Graduate Program in Applied Informatics, University of Fortaleza, Fortaleza 60811-905, Brazil
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2373; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122373
Received: 8 November 2017 / Revised: 14 December 2017 / Accepted: 14 December 2017 / Published: 20 December 2017
Abstract | Cited by 2PDF Full-text (589 KB) | HTML Full-textXML Full-text
Abstract: This paper presents an experience applied to a public university campus using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to evaluate and improve the energy efficiency of the indoor spaces of the buildings within the limits of the Federal University of Piauí, considering the lighting (installed power and luminous flux) and air conditioning (absorbed electric power and cooling capacity) input/output variables. Using Brazilian energy efficiency evaluation methods, a comparison was made between DEA and Brazilian standards, with the goal of examining DEA’s performance and feasibility in efficiency improvement. The results revealed that all of the analyzed university classrooms were inefficient, which is coherent with the classification obtained by applying Brazilian standards; the calculated efficiency scores for these rooms varied from 0.7182 to 0.8477, a 0.7848 average. The DEA model, while operating in lighting and air conditioning systems, achieved a reduction of installed power of 43.5% and 22.7%, respectively, totaling a decrease of 25.6%, being able to maintain the standard characteristics of the systems mentioned. According to the DEA models, it was found that the generated targets effectively improved the efficiency of lighting and air-conditioning systems, reducing excessive inputs such as air conditioners’ consumption and increasing deficient outputs such as luminous flux. It is possible to expand this successful application in the layout of the building in the whole campus area to concept small smart city projects; both have been achieved in the public buildings of the administrative body. Results from this paper revealed DEA’s potential in assessing and optimizing the energy efficiency of buildings, improving their sustainability indexes, acting as a tool to support decision-making and benchmarking.

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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Value of Housing Schemes through Sustainable Return on Investment: A Path towards Sustainability-Led Evaluations?
1 City West Housing Trust, Salford M30 0BP, UK
2 School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2264; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122264
Received: 15 October 2017 / Revised: 21 November 2017 / Accepted: 29 November 2017 / Published: 19 December 2017
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Abstract: The 2016 United Nations (UN) New Urban Agenda clearly reaffirms the concept that sustainable cities require intertwined environmental and social sustainability. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11—“Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable”—sets (as a primary target) the provision of sufficient affordable housing. Despite the central role that housing plays in ensuring sustainability and the importance of both environmental and social pillars in ensuring sustainable development, current evaluative methods that support decision making on social housing interventions fail to capture all of the socio-environmental value contained in the UN SDG 11. This paper addresses the issue by demonstrating how Sustainable Return on Investment can successfully describe and analyse a range of externalities related to the sustainable value generated by social housing regeneration schemes. To achieve this goal, a single case study strategy has been chosen. Two extant projects—a high-rise housing scheme and an environmental-led program developed by City West Housing Trust (a nonprofit housing association based in the Manchester area)—have been assessed in order to monetise their social and environmental value through different methods. The findings show that, historically, the environmental and social value of regeneration schemes have been largely disregarded because of a gap in the evaluation methods, and that there is room for significant improvement for future evaluation exercises.

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Open AccessArticle Micro-Study of the Evolution of Rural Settlement Patterns and Their Spatial Association with Water and Land Resources: A Case Study of Shandan County, China
1 College of Geography and Environmental Science, Northwest Normal University, Lanzhou 730000, China
2 School of Management, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2277; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122277
Received: 11 October 2017 / Revised: 5 December 2017 / Accepted: 6 December 2017 / Published: 8 December 2017
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Abstract: The balance between population and water and land resources is an important part of regional sustainable development. It is also significant for the ecological civilization in China and can help solve the Three Rural Issues (agriculture, countryside and farmers) in China. The Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road in twenty-first Century Strategy have brought new opportunities for the Hexi Corridor, which is facing challenges in the sustainable development of rural settlements. In this paper, we analyzed the temporal-spatial differentiation of rural settlement patterns in Shandan County of Hexi Corridor and studied the spatial association between rural settlements and water-land resources. Results show that the total area of rural settlement patches (CA), the number of rural settlement patches (NP), the mean patch area (MPS), the maximum patch areas (MAXP), the minimum patch areas (MINP) and the density of rural settlement patches (PD) changed more rapidly from 1998 to 2008 than from 2008 to 2015. In the second period, the indices mentioned before did not change significantly. The kernel density of rural settlements is basically consistent in three periods. Rural settlements mainly distribute along major roads and the hydrographic network and the kernel density of rural settlements decreases in the direction away from these roads and the hydrographic network. In addition, rural settlements in Shandan County are densely distributed in some regions and sparsely distributed in other regions. The dispersion degree of rural settlements increased from 1998 to 2008 and tended to be stable after 2008. These lead to the dispersion, hollowing and chaos of rural settlements in Shandan County. The spatial distribution of rural settlements in Shandan County is closely related to that of cultivated land and the hydrographic network. Our results might provide a theoretical basis for the reasonable utilization of water and land resources in Shandan County. Ultimately, a balance between population and water and land resources and regional sustainable development can be achieved.

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Open AccessArticle The New Pyramid of Needs for the Digital Citizen: A Transition towards Smart Human Cities
1 Doctoral Program in Education, Faculty of Education, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción 4090541, Chile
2 CIEDE-UCSC, Faculty of Education, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción 4090541, Chile
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2258; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122258
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 29 November 2017 / Accepted: 30 November 2017 / Published: 6 December 2017
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Abstract: This article analyzes the cultural transition towards postmodernity or a knowledge society and its impact on the changing needs of cities. This transition is characterized by a growing diversification of the use of technologies in most of the economic, political, educational, social, and cultural activities of different human groups. The concept of smart cities emerges, in which the roles and behaviors of citizens are redefined in physical spaces and in their interactions, as well as the function of institutions and interpersonal relationships. Emerging models of social and cultural behavior are required to analyze and systematize these realities, to understand how to increase effectiveness in action, and to rethink education and new ways of teaching and learning. All these processes are based on phenomena of innovation and management, mediated by technology. We proposed an analysis of the new digital skills of these individuals. The elements that shape the reformulation of roles and reference models, as well as an analysis of the postmodern cultural changes and the formation of a holistic, human-community-technology vision, are based on a new pyramid of training needs in which technologies are placed at the service of people’s development, organizations, society, and culture.

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Open AccessArticle Conflicts of Interest and Change in Original Intent: A Case Study of Vacant and Abandoned Homes Repurposed as Community Gardens in a Shrinking City, Daegu, South Korea
1 Interdisciplinary Program of Landscape Architecture, Graduate School, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea
2 Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University, 1 Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2140; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112140
Received: 5 October 2017 / Revised: 11 November 2017 / Accepted: 15 November 2017 / Published: 20 November 2017
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Abstract: As part of an urban policy designed to revive South Korea’s shrinking cities, vacant residential structures are being demolished and the resulting empty plots transformed into public spaces. This study discursively examines this process, its stakeholders, and the sources of conflict among them in the neighborhood of Daebong 2 in Daegu, South Korea. Additionally, solutions for maintaining public interest are explored. Employees and members of relevant municipal authorities and non-profit organizations (NPOs), as well as town residents, were selected through purposive sampling for interviews. The data were then analyzed via open coding. The results reveal conflict between users and non-users in terms of the possession of public goods, as well as conflict between project executives in the creation process. We also found that spatial and policy characteristics are a particular source of conflict in dense, historic residential areas. To overcome problems caused by rivalry and discord, the following actions are required: a change in perspective among policy practitioners; a governance structure that consists of a public/private/community partnership; consensus among community members, and; equitable welfare through programs based on inclusivity and public interest.

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Open AccessArticle County-Rural Transformation Development from Viewpoint of “Population-Land-Industry” in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region under the Background of Rapid Urbanization
1 Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
2 Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1637; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091637
Received: 24 July 2017 / Revised: 31 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 September 2017 / Published: 19 September 2017
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Abstract: In recent years, rural transformation has gradually become the focus of scholars and governments in the context of global sustainable development; it is of great significance to achieve urban-rural integration and coordinated development through studying the spatial-temporal characteristics and driving mechanism of rural transformation development. This paper analyzes the spatial-temporal characteristics of county-rural transformation development through drawing into the transformation degree (TD) and coordination degree (CD) from the viewpoint of “population–land–industry” (PT-IT-LT) in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region. It explores the mechanism of PT-IT-LT on the rural transformation in different stages through multi-element positioning in the same space coordinate system and carries out functional regionalization on the basis of transformation and coordination research. The results showed that: (1) The CD and TD were divided into four types, namely, the lower-level, low-level, middle-level and high-level, and had a similar changed tendency from 1990 to 2015, where the middle- and high-level were in the central counties of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the lower- and low-level were in the other parts of the region. (2) According to the mechanism analysis, stages A and B were mainly influenced by industry transformation; stage D was affected by population transformation; and stage E was influenced by land transformation. (3) The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region was divided into an ecological conservation area, a key development area and a core leading area, according to the study, which would provide a scientific basis to achieve integration of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and regional strategic optimization.

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Open AccessArticle Accelerated Urban Expansion in Lhasa City and the Implications for Sustainable Development in a Plateau City
by 1, 2,3, 2,* , 2,* and 4
1 Key Laboratory of Mountain Surface Processes and Ecological Regulation, Institute of Mountain Hazard and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 640016, China
2 Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
3 College of Earth Sciences, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China
4 Land and Resources College, China West Normal University, Nanchong 637009, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(9), 1499; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091499
Received: 24 July 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 21 August 2017 / Published: 23 August 2017
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Abstract: Urbanization challenges regional sustainable development, but a slight expansion mechanism was revealed in a plateau city. We have integrated the urban expansion process and analyzed its determinants in Lhasa (Tibet), and we provide insightful suggestions for urban management and planning for Lhasa. The full continuum of the urban expansion process has been captured using time-series of high-resolution remote sensing data (1990–2015). Four categories of potential determinants involved in economic, demographic, social, and government policy factors were selected, and redundancy analysis was employed to define the contribution rates of these determinants. The results illustrate that considerable urban expansion occurred from 1990 to 2015 in Lhasa, with the area of construction land and transportation land increasing at rates of 117.2% and 564.7%, respectively. The urban expansion in the center of Lhasa can be characterized as temperate sprawl from 1990 through 2008, primarily explained by governmental policies and investment, economic development, tourist growth, and increased governmental investment resulting in faster urban expansion from 2008 to 2015, mainly occurring in the east, south, and west of Lhasa. In contrast with other cities of China, central government investment and “pairing-up support” projects have played an important role in infrastructure construction in Lhasa. The miraculous development of the tourism industry had prominent effects on this economic development and urbanization after 2006, due to the running of the Tibetan Railway. An integrative and proactive policy framework, the “Lhasa development model”, having important theoretical, methodological, and management implications for urban planning and development, has been proposed.

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Open AccessArticle Mapping Urban Expansion and Exploring Its Driving Forces in the City of Praia, Cape Verde, from 1969 to 2015
by 1 and 1,2,3,*
1 School of Resources and Environmental Science, Wuhan University, 129 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China
2 Collaborative Innovation Center of Geo Spatial Technology, Wuhan University, 129 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China
3 The Key Laboratory of Geographical Information System, Ministry of Education, Wuhan University, 129 Luoyu Road, Wuhan 430079, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1434; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9081434
Received: 16 July 2017 / Revised: 8 August 2017 / Accepted: 8 August 2017 / Published: 14 August 2017
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Abstract: Urban expansion is the outcome of intensive human activity within a certain natural environment and may cause ecological and environmental problems, especially on small islands where land is a scarce resource. Praia is the capital city of Cape Verde, located on such an island. Understanding urban expansion will provide good knowledge for urban planning and policy making in balancing urban economic development and natural resource protection. According to available data, the urban expansion in Praia between 1969 and 2015 is observed in four phases (1969–1993, 1993–2003, 2003–2010, and 2010–2015). In order to integrate various data sources, this study applies an available method to coordinate and calibrate map data with different scales and forms into a consistent dataset and then introduces some improvements in the delineation of urban areas. With this data, the driving forces in each phase are explored using regression analysis, by which the main urban expansion processes are presented. We found a decrease in annual growth rate (AGR) of urban expansion after the year 2003 and a parallel stabilization of urban utilization density (UD) and land consumption per capita (LCR). This study also indicates that population is not always the persistent driving factor for urban expansion and the majority of horizontal expansion has occurred in zones with less infrastructure.

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Open AccessReview Smart Villages: Comprehensive Review of Initiatives and Practices
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Tržaška cesta 25, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072559
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 21 July 2018
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Abstract: Over recent decades, people’s (rural and urban) communities are facing numerous social and economic changes and challenges. Some of those challenges have been increasingly addressed through the lenses of technological developments and digitalization. In this paper, we have made a review of already existing practices while focusing on the existing implementations of the Smart Village concept and the importance of digital transformation for rural areas. We give special attention to EU policies that we are using as an already existing framework for understanding our own forthcoming examples. We have shown the parallels between the findings and insights from different regions and made an evaluation of presented practices. Our main argument stems from our own previous experiences and experiences of other research approaches, and is grounded on the argument that rural areas are not uniform, and that smart rural development has to be applied in combination with place-based approach. We present the cases of Slovenian pilot practices and support our argument by proposing the FabVillage concept.
Open AccessReview Disease Diagnosis in Smart Healthcare: Innovation, Technologies and Applications
1 Department of Electronic Engineering, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
2 Virtual Reality Research Center, Effat University, Jeddah 21577, Saudi Arabia
3 School of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
4 Department of Business Administration and Accountability, Faculty of Economics, The University of Oviedo, 33003 Oviedo, Spain
5 Hubei Key Laboratory of Inland Shipping Technology, School of Navigation, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan 430063, China
6 School of Information Science & Technology, Donghua University, Shanghai 200051, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122309
Received: 18 October 2017 / Revised: 7 December 2017 / Accepted: 8 December 2017 / Published: 18 December 2017
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Abstract: To promote sustainable development, the smart city implies a global vision that merges artificial intelligence, big data, decision making, information and communication technology (ICT), and the internet-of-things (IoT). The ageing issue is an aspect that researchers, companies and government should devote efforts in developing smart healthcare innovative technology and applications. In this paper, the topic of disease diagnosis in smart healthcare is reviewed. Typical emerging optimization algorithms and machine learning algorithms are summarized. Evolutionary optimization, stochastic optimization and combinatorial optimization are covered. Owning to the fact that there are plenty of applications in healthcare, four applications in the field of diseases diagnosis (which also list in the top 10 causes of global death in 2015), namely cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and tuberculosis, are considered. In addition, challenges in the deployment of disease diagnosis in healthcare have been discussed.

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Open AccessReview Investigating the Role of Virtual Reality in Planning for Sustainable Smart Cities
1 College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, Melbourne 3011, Australia
2 School of Engineering, Faculty of Science Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, VIC 3216, Australia
3 School of Software and Electrical Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology, VIC 3122, Australia
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2006; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112006
Received: 13 September 2017 / Revised: 18 October 2017 / Accepted: 30 October 2017 / Published: 1 November 2017
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Abstract: With rapid population growth, urban designers face tremendous challenges to accommodate the increasing size of the population in urban areas while simultaneously considering future environmental, social, and economic impacts. A “smart city” is an urban development vision that integrates multiple information and communication technologies to manage the assets of a city, including its information systems, transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management systems, and other community services provided by a local department. The goal of creating a smart city is to improve the quality of life of citizens by using technology and by addressing the environmental, social, cultural, and physical needs of a society. Data modeling and data visualization are integral parts of planning a smart city, and planning professionals currently seek new methods for real-time simulations. The impact analysis of “what-if scenarios” frequently takes a significant amount of time and resources, and virtual reality (VR) is a potential tool for addressing these challenges. VR is a computer technology that replicates an environment, whether real or imagined, and simulates the physical presence and environment of a user to allow for user interaction. This paper presents a review of the capacity of VR to address current challenges in creating, modeling, and visualizing smart cities through material modeling and light simulation in a VR environment. This study can assist urban planners, stakeholders, and communities to further understand the roles of planning policies in creating a smart city, particularly in the early design stages. The significant roles of technologies, such as VR, in targeting real-time simulations and visualization requirements for smart cities are emphasized.

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