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Special Issue "Smart, the New Sustainable? The Smart City and Its Implications for Sustainable Urbanism"

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 (30 June 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Martin De Jong

1. Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management Delft University of Technology PO Box 5015, 2600 GA Delft, The Netherlands
2. School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Fudan University, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: urban planning; transport planning; eco cities; smart cities; public policy; governance; policy implementation; policy transfer; China
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Simon Joss

Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Westminster, 32/38 Wells Street London W1T 3UW, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44-20-7911-5000 (ext 68906)
Interests: science and technology studies; sustainable cities; eco cities, smart cities; governance; policy implementation; cross-national comparison
Guest Editor
Dr. Federico Caprotti

College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: human geography; nature and the city; urban political ecology; sustainable cities; eco-cities; smart cities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Interest in the smart city has grown rapidly across global regions—so much so that it has become a major paradigm of urban policy, planning, and development. In the academic literature, smart urbanism has surpassed (at least in volume) earlier prevailing concepts such as the eco city and the sustainable city (e.g., de Jong et al., 2015). Likewise, the policy literature has increasingly turned its attention to this rising phenomenon. For example, according to Moir et al. (2014: 4), “sustainability is no longer the main prism through which thinking about the future of cities takes place…‘Smart cities’ has become the most popular formulation for the future city, and is becoming a globally recognised term”.

While the academic literature has produced numerous contributions of both conceptual and critical analytical nature, what has been left relatively underinvestigated to-date is the relationship between sustainable and smart urbanism. It should certainly not be assumed that smart equates with sustainable in any straightforward manner. For example, under the banner of ecological modernization, smart urbanism may be seen as key to achieving greater resource efficiencies. However, this may come at the cost of a more explicit commitment to sustainability encompassing environmental, economic, social, and cultural concerns. The question arising is whether the recent discursive shift from the sustainable (or eco) city to the smart city is relatively superficial and inconsequential, or whether it harbours a more profound change in our conceptual understanding of urban planning and politics. Furthermore, what are the ramifications for practices on the ground? Does the adoption of the smart agenda change the way sustainable development is designed and implemented? Last but not least, how is the smart–sustainable interrelationship viewed across different geographies and cultures?

This Special Issue seeks to make an in-depth, critical contribution to this evolving debate by identifying and addressing salient questions about how we are to understand sustainable development in the age of smart urbanism. We welcome original research articles of both theoretical and empirical nature, and in particular contributions relating to any of the following perspectives, to be addressed within the context of the urban:

  1. conceptual perspectives: theories and histories interrogating the relationship between smart and sustainable;
  2. policy and governance perspectives: theoretical and empirical analyses of policy and governance processes, especially concerning the evolving interplay between smart and sustainable development agendas;
  3. individual and comparative case studies: examining various on-the-ground practices and their approaches to interrelating smart and sustainable within particular discourses and institutional and material settings.

Prof. Dr. Martin de Jong
Prof. Dr. Simon Joss
Dr. Federico Caprotti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Deadline for preliminary abstract: 31 January 2018. Authors are advised to submit a preliminary abstract, in order to receive guidance on the suitability of their paper in the Special Issue.

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 monthly 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 1400 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 city
  • sustainable city
  • eco city
  • digital city
  • smart urbanism
  • conceptual explorations
  • governance
  • case studies
  • good practices

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Cycling the Smart and Sustainable City: Analyzing EC Policy Documents on Internet of Things, Mobility and Transport, and Smart Cities
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030763
Received: 29 October 2018 / Revised: 19 January 2019 / Accepted: 23 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1924 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article asks how cycling, a sustainable form of urban mobility, is discussed in the context of smart cities and the Internet of Things in European Commission (EC) policy documents, and how this compares to discussions around cars. Sustainable forms of transport, such [...] Read more.
This article asks how cycling, a sustainable form of urban mobility, is discussed in the context of smart cities and the Internet of Things in European Commission (EC) policy documents, and how this compares to discussions around cars. Sustainable forms of transport, such as cycling, are a key issue for cities across the globe, including smart cities, while transport is increasingly becoming part of the Internet of Things (IoT). This article contributes to an understanding of how cars and bicycles are discussed in this context. To do so, 39 relevant EC policy documents (2014–2018) were identified and examined through keyword searches and rigorous document analysis. The results show how the vast majority of policy discussions in this area revolve around cars (including autonomous cars and smart vehicles), while cycling is hardly considered, with a strong affinity between IoT and cars. In addition, recent EC policy debates take place more around IoT than around Smart Cities, while sustainability is not considered much in the IoT context. The conclusion highlights the implications of sustainable urban modes of transport such as cycling being absent from IoT/smart debates, including lack of policy visibility and funding opportunities, underlining the significance of this research, and it also makes policy suggestions for addressing these issues and for future research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modern Conceptions of Cities as Smart and Sustainable and Their Commonalities
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2642; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082642
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 17 July 2018 / Accepted: 20 July 2018 / Published: 27 July 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present work aims to determine the existence of commonalities between two modern conceptions of cities, i.e., smart and sustainable. To accomplish this, the authors carried out a systematic review of the most-cited scientific contributions chosen by the scholars proposing conceptualisation of the [...] Read more.
The present work aims to determine the existence of commonalities between two modern conceptions of cities, i.e., smart and sustainable. To accomplish this, the authors carried out a systematic review of the most-cited scientific contributions chosen by the scholars proposing conceptualisation of the two topics, according to the H-index determined by Web of Science. The findings show that the most important contributions representing the antecedents with respect to the concepts of a smart city and a sustainable city can be classified into three groups: labelled as what, how and with, and describing the definitions, the role of technology, and the pillars (in the case of a smart city); the groups labelled as what, how and with depicts definitions, change and challenges, and key features (in the case of a sustainable city). Starting from the conception of a smart city as the evolution of a digital city, the smart city concept not only considers aspects related to technology and innovation but adds the human features of city life. The sustainable city concept can be understood as a new approach through the filter of a new philosophy; it is an equitable and balanced setting of goals in line with the principles of sustainable development. Both concepts cannot be thought of as contrasting; in fact, they share many commonalities. This is because the attention focused on social, environmental and economic issues has framed the debate over sustainability and converged in the definition of a smart city and—obviously—in the notion of a sustainable city. The main contribution of this paper is in considering the smart city as mainly setting the guidelines of a transforming city, while the sustainable city is mostly thought as an approach and a philosophy to modern cities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is ‘Smart Mobility’ Sustainable? Examining the Views and Beliefs of Transport’s Technological Entrepreneurs
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020422
Received: 11 November 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 29 January 2018 / Published: 6 February 2018
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (616 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One of the main evolving trends in the transport system is the assimilation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and other sophisticated hi-technology innovations into it. Those processes and practices are increasingly referred to as the “Smart Mobility” paradigm. In this paradigm, ‘smart’ [...] Read more.
One of the main evolving trends in the transport system is the assimilation of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) and other sophisticated hi-technology innovations into it. Those processes and practices are increasingly referred to as the “Smart Mobility” paradigm. In this paradigm, ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’ are often considered synonymous, or at least complementary to each other. This research aims to examine the extent to which ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’ are aligned with each other by conducting a survey amongst the main actors within smart mobility. These actors are referred to as transport innovators or entrepreneurs. The survey of n = 117 entrepreneurs shows that there is a mismatch between interpretation and understanding of what is ‘smart’ and what is ‘sustainable’. It is clear that the concern of those transport entrepreneurs is primarily with commercial considerations and that their appreciation of what it takes to advance towards a more sustainable transport system is lacking. The belief amongst those entrepreneurs, it emerges, is that technological developments alone, specifically with respect to autonomous and connected vehicles, can lead to sustainable transport. This should be a real concern if those same actors are the ones who lead and pave the way forward for transport planning. Full article
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