Smart city policies: A spatial approach

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Smart city policies: A spatial approach

Smart cities portray a conceptual urban development framework that leverages on human, collective and technological capital for the advancement of development and benefit in urban agglomerations. However, there is still no concrete strategic proposal for smart city development due to predominantly uncharted and interdisciplinary fields. Stakeholders are often driven by conflicting interests. In addition, the inclination to believe that innovative technological instrumentation will unquestionably lead to the development of smart cities and a biased use of the buzzword ‘smart’ in fragmented or superficial ways, actually further deters the clarification of the subject.

The key distinctive factor among smart city strategies is whether they involve an entire country or nation, or if the emphasis is only place at a local level, be it a neighbourhood, municipality, city, metropolitan area or even a region. Most applied strategies are developed on the local level and while there are advantages to it, some disadvantages have been identified as well. The disadvantages of local level smart city strategies include:

  • Small and medium sized cities are at a disadvantage when in competition for resources against larger and well-furnished cities.
  • Cities will have to find solutions to adjust their smart city strategy with the manifold set of policy agendas administered at the government level.
  • Cutting-edge pilot projects and small-scale developments may not be applicable on city-wide level.

Further, it is important to note that even within the ‘local strategy’ spectrum there are several opinions about the most relevant scale of implementation. While it has been advocated that strategic regional planning has a significant consequence in smart city development, small-scale smart city programs can lead to the achievement of short term goals and provide a platform to determine the viability of explicit smart city solutions and services in real-life contexts. Thus far, there has been few researchers who have supported the implementation of smart city strategies on a national level. National-level strategies can receive state support and have a greater vision and more control over relate policies and coordinated resource pooling. Therefore, through this strategic execution they serve as a significant point of reference for smart city strategies.

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Participate in the upcoming QS in conversation – “University-Public Sector Partnerships: Smart Cities” which will be held from 3-5 October 2018 in Singapore.