This paper examines different approaches to smart city development that reflect different ways in which cities are governed, and different pathways urban governments take to become smart. The main research question is: When comparing a selection of smart city projects, how can pathways for their implementation be classified? By using a comparative case study research design the present study mapped how different design choices of smart cities play out in their implementation and governance. The authors analyse four cases: Smart Dubai, Masdar City, Barcelona Smart City, and Amsterdam Smart City.
Whereas several studies were conducted to compare smart city practices, the innovation in this contribution is the focus on design choices made, while the authors reveal and classify developmental pathways. This paper seeks to compare the four smart city cases on the basis of the goals, policies, procedures, and resources used in their smart city development process.
The authors use a systematic, conceptual Input-Output model (IO model) to shed light on different facets of smart city development, classifying them into the inputs, throughputs, and outputs. The main idea addressed in the present paper is to test key propositions from the IO model, in general, and more specifically, to systematically convey the design choices city planners and policy makers make in developing smart cities.
The results of this study reveal a variety that makes their smart city development pathways different, in parallel to notable commonalities. Smart city development in Amsterdam is based on a business-driven approach, which puts innovation at its core; Masdar’ s choices reflect technological optimism; social inclusion is the focus of the Barcelona Smart City pathway; and visionary-ambitious leadership is the main driver behind Smart Dubai. Based on these insights, a classification for smart city development pathways is established.
According to the authors, limitations to the present study pertain to the case selection, which included only European and Arab countries, and excluded other ones, like pioneering smart cities in North America and East Asia. Because of this bias in the case selection, it is conceivable that potentially more pathways exist in other cities around the world.
The paper is structured as follows. The first section includes an Introduction. The second section introduces a conceptual model in which smart city development is presented as an IO model, with key design variables of the smart city classified under inputs, throughputs, and output variables. Section 3 specifies the research design and methodology. Section 4 presents the four smart city cases. Section 5 provides the results of the comparative analysis of the four cases. Section 6 discusses the results and presents a classification of smart city development pathways. In Section 7 , the conclusions and recommendations for future research and policy makers are presented.
The results of the present study are useful to academic researchers, smart city practitioners, and policy makers.
You can find the paper here.