Smart City: Definitions, Dimensions, and Initiatives

Wojciech Kozlowski, Kacper Suwar
European Research Studies Journal, Volume XXIV, Special Issue 3, 509-520, 2021
DOI: 10.35808/ersj/2442


Purpose: The smart city is an increasingly popular topic in the sustainable development of the city. However, there is still misunderstanding about what smart cities are. This study examined how different definition and dimensions included in the smart city concept can be categorized and how does a smart initiative make European cities smarter. Design/Methodology/Approach: The paper attempts to answer the above questions through literature review and case study methods. The case study was used to present the actions of municipal authorities aimed at making cities smarter. Findings: Smart city is difficult to define unequivocally due to its multidimensional character. When defining a smart city, most authors emphasize the role of information and communication technologies in city development. Urban centers are also defined in terms of human and social capital and institutions. In contrast, nowadays, there is a wide consensus at on accepting six dimension of smart city concept. According to this the development of the city is expected to make investments in economy, environment, governance, living, mobility, and people. Smart initiatives depend to a large extent on local factors. Therefore, the challenge for city authorities is to choose the most optimal city development strategy in the given economic, technological, and social conditions. In Europe, smart initiatives concern the greening of cities and the activation of elderly and disabled people. Practical Implications: The article offers useful insights for both practitioners and scientist interested in smart city initiatives. Smart city is characterized by democratism, because community, research, and development centers as well as institutional and economic entities are interested in it. The implementation of the smart concept means innovative and sustainable urban development in harmony with the natural environment, without violating social cohesion, while respecting limited resources to meet stakeholder expectations. Originality/Value: The results of the study contribute in the cognitive sense to the smart city concept. Comprehensive definition of smart city is proposed. Smart city is a city that combines information and communication technologies, social infrastructure (human and social capital) and public institutions to dynamize its economic, social, environmental, and cultural development.

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