Can cities become smart without being sustainable? A systematic review of the literature

Tan Yigitcanlar, Md Kamruzzaman, Marcus Foth, Jamile Sabatini-Marques, Eduardo da Costa, Giuseppe Ioppolo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Smart cities are widely seen as localities that actively embrace new technologies to achieve desired urban outcomes. Despite sustainability often claimed to be a desired outcome of smart city initiatives, little evidence exists how sustainability outcomes are incorporated or achieved within the smart city initiatives. This paper aims to address the question of whether cities can become smart without actually being sustainable. The study undertakes a systematic review of the smart and sustainable cities literature. The analysis highlights an expectation in the reviewed academic literature for cities to become sustainable first in order to be considered truly smart. The results point to major challenges of smart cities in delivering sustainable outcomes: (a) Smart city policies are characterised by heavy technocentricity; (b) Smart city practices involve complexities, and; (c) Smart city notions are conceptualised in an ad-hoc manner. The findings provide evidence that the current smart city practice fails to incorporate an overarching sustainability goal that is progressive and genuine. This, then, highlights the need for a post-anthropocentric approach in practice and policymaking for the development of truly smart and sustainable cities. The findings seek to stimulate prospective research and further critical debates on this topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-365
Number of pages18
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Volume45
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Post-anthropocentric city
  • Progressive urbanism
  • Smart city
  • Sustainable city
  • Sustainable urban development
  • Urban informatics

Cite this

Yigitcanlar, Tan ; Kamruzzaman, Md ; Foth, Marcus ; Sabatini-Marques, Jamile ; da Costa, Eduardo ; Ioppolo, Giuseppe. / Can cities become smart without being sustainable? A systematic review of the literature. In: Sustainable Cities and Society. 2019 ; Vol. 45. pp. 348-365.
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Can cities become smart without being sustainable? A systematic review of the literature. / Yigitcanlar, Tan; Kamruzzaman, Md; Foth, Marcus; Sabatini-Marques, Jamile; da Costa, Eduardo; Ioppolo, Giuseppe.

In: Sustainable Cities and Society, Vol. 45, 01.02.2019, p. 348-365.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

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