Smart cities and sustainability
So-called 'smart cities' have the potential to make a significant contribution to urban sustainability, by using information and communication technology (ICT) to gather urban data and improve performance and management. Examples include smart solutions for parking, highway speed controls, refuse collection, water infrastructure and energy grids. However, these approaches are limited by their focus on optimising existing urban systems.
The New Urban Agenda (UN 2017) highlights the role of smart cities in driving a radical shift in city management, but it remains unclear how technological development can be aimed at improving sustainability. Technological transformation is currently driven by a market-led approach – focusing on creating business-friendly environments and citizen-centric service delivery – while urban data's potential for increasing sustainability remains untapped.
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