Understanding ‘smart cities’: Intertwining development drivers with desired outcomes in a multidimensional framework

Tan Yigitcanlar, Md Kamruzzaman, Laurie Buys, Giuseppe Ioppolo, Jamile Sabatini-Marques, Eduardo Moreira da Costa, Jin Hyo Joseph Yun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

119 Citations (Scopus)


The convergence of technology and the city is commonly referred to as the ‘smart city’. It is seen as a possible remedy for the challenges that urbanisation creates in the age of global climate change, and as an enabler of a sustainable and liveable urban future. A review of the abundant but fragmented literature on smart city theories and practices, nevertheless, reveals that there is a limited effort to capture a comprehensive understanding on how the complex and multidimensional nature of the drivers of smart cities are linked to desired outcomes. The paper aims to develop a clearer understanding on this new city model by identifying and linking the key drivers to desired outcomes, and then intertwining them in a multidimensional framework. The methodological approach of this research includes a systematic review of the literature on smart cities, focusing on those aimed at conceptual development and provide empirical evidence base. The review identifies that the literature reveals three types of drivers of smart cities—community, technology, policy—which are linked to five desired outcomes—productivity, sustainability, accessibility, wellbeing, liveability, governance. These drivers and outcomes altogether assemble a smart city framework, where each of them represents a distinctive dimension of the smart cities notion. This paper helps in expanding our understanding beyond a monocentric technology focus of the current common smart city practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-160
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


  • Smart city
  • Smart city policy
  • Smart city technology
  • Smart community
  • Sustainable urban development

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