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Definitions and Trends of Smart City

Question:

Discuss about the Oportunities and Perils of Smart City programs for social cohesion. 

Smart city concept has been emerging all around the world during the last five years,, which is influencing the urban strategy of both small and large towns. Smart city projects are inclined towards investing in the overall development of a particular city in regards of socio economic development, infrastructural development and development human life (Scuotto et al., 2016). This study will discuss several definitions and trends of smart city. Some aspects of social cohesion in the urban context will also be discussed in this study. Apart from that, the study will also assess the opportunities and perils for smart city programs for social cohesion.

According to Gabrys (2014), smart city is the improvement of urban area, which fosters sustainable development economic condition along with high quality life of the people. Moreover, such city development leads to highly quality human life through excelling various important areas like economy, environment, mobility, living, Government and people. On the other hand, Shelton et al. (2015) opined that smart city consists of exploitation of networked infrastructure for improving the efficiency of political and economic condition, which ultimately enable socio cultural and economic development. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is claimed to be at the core of smart city disclosure, which emphasizes on enhancing socio-economic, logistic, competitive and ecological performance of the city.


There are so many definitions of smart city, as different proponents and opponents have argued on smart city in different ways. The former argument related to the smart city talks about the networked place, where deployment of ICTs into each activity in the city ultimately improves standard quality of human life. Furthermore, the further proponents of smart city has emphasized on use of ICTs by the communities, which enable them in participating fully on knowledge society. According to Hollands (2015), ICT alone cannot contribute in attaining the desired improvement of life standard and there is obvious need of increasing human capital and other developing other sorts of skills among the citizens.  Proponents of smart cities also emphasizes on promotion of economic prosperity, social equality and ecological integrity, which can be responsible for advancing larger goal of urban sustainability. In this way, several aspects of smart city have framed its definition in several ways.

Improvement in Information and Communication technologies has made it possible to develop smart cities, where city management and democracy are mainly guided by ICT generated data. As per International Data Corporation (IDC), the digital universe has been reached by 1.2 million petabytes in 2010. It is expected that digital universe could be 44 times larger than 2010 by the year 2020. Bak?c? et al. (2013) pointed out that most of developing countries around the world are inclined to private, public and non-profitable partnership for infrastructural development of their cities. Apart from infrastructural development, there is high trend of building Greenfield land for environmental development of the city. Emerging economies like India and China are heavily investing in sustainable urban life through combination of latest ICTs and architectural design. Furthermore, Tokyo and Seoul has also demonstrated enough initiatives for developing intelligent traffic control, urban mobility smart grid and many more

Opportunities and Perils for Smart City Programs for Social Cohesion

Rosati and Conti (2016) opined that smart city is a municipality, which uses ICTs for increasing operational efficiency and sharing information with public for improving both qualities of citizen welfare and government services. This definition majorly concerns for the development of quality of human life through usage of ICT. Moreover, smart city programs take care of adequate water supply, assures electricity supply for meeting the basic needs of the citizens. On the other hand, Kummitha and Crutzen (2017) opined that smart city project concerned with using ICTs for proper urbanization of the cities. Such definition is also concerned with developing the quality of citizens’ life. The development of e-government has also improved the quality of social life and political environment. Moreover, with the help of ICTs, government bodies are now more flexible in sharing important information and delivering government services through online channels. In this way, the smart cit project has actually enhances the transparency between the government and public leading to stable political condition.


The development of digitalization and ICTs has enhanced the scope of industrial development in the cities. Such industrial development in the smart cities creates huge employment scope for the employees. Therefore, smart city development is directly linked with employment opportunity for the city, which is in turn linked with its overall economic growth. On the other hand, Shelton et al. (2015) opined that industrial development of smart cities contribute in the GDP of the individual cities, which is directly linked to their economic development. Smart city projects ensure proper safety and security of the citizens through effective civil services and police forces. In this way, the definition of smart city concerned for socio economic development.

Social cohesion arises, when bonds among the social members link them with each other and form a cohesive group as a whole. Moreover, the cohesive groups of smart city work together for the well being of each member, fights for social exclusion and marginalization, create sense of belongings and promote trust (Zygiaris, 2013). Moreover, social cohesion of any city is actually directed towards upward social mobility. Such social cohesion and upward social mobility is highly related overall economic growth of the smart cities.

According to Hollands (2015), social cohesion enhances economic growth through reducing transactional cost. Such costs are actually incurred to make economic exchange like information gathering, communication and contract enforcement. The societies, where norms of cooperation and trust between different sectarian, ethnic and other identity groups are low, the cost of economic cooperation is higher. In this way, social cohesion inhibits economic activity leading to overall economic development of the cities. On the other hand, Grossi and Pianezzi (2017) opined that social cohesion enhances economic growth through fostering collective actions, which is the cooperation among the individuals towards pursuit of shared objectives. This shared objective is specifically defined in terms of public choice economy, which is the demand for and provision of public goods.  Papa et al. (2013) pointed out that positive potential externalities arise from collective action in the form of offering, monitoring, enforcing provision for essential public goods like schooling, health and infrastructure. Contribution of social cohesion in the form of collective action has been marked as social capital literature.

Impact of Smart City on Economic Growth


Divisive social cleavage restrains the willingness to contribute in collective funds and public investment. Social cohesion always fosters shared value and ideas among the people in a society. In such situation, the people can easily share their ideas in economic development. On the other hand, Jin et al. (2014) opined that heterogeneous identity leads to lower participation in voluntary participation mechanism towards proper economic development. Lower levels of public goods provision like education, sewers, roads, waste removal is weaker in the context of religious and ethnic fractionalization in the cities. According to Zanella et al. (2014), social cohesion boosts up reciprocal ties between the individuals and the demand for individuals for the public goods as per the supply of those goods. As a consequence, the availability of public services has huge contribution in the national income.

Social cohesion has huge impact on allocation, productivity and efficiency, which is directly linked with economic growth. Equal allocation and distribution of resources among the cohesive social group maximizes the economic welfare. In this way, social cohesion improves economic growth by preventing human capital and physical destruction and building cooperation, social capital and trust among the individuals in a society. Social cohesion and economic growth is linked with each other in terms of capital accumulation. Long run economic growth is defined as sustained accumulation of capital. The size of economy is largely dependent on sum of goods and services produced within a city or country. Productivity is actually dependent on production land, enterprise, labor and capital. In such situation, improvements in all factors are considered due to some form of human capital through presence of social cohesion

Smart city project leverage the existing and new technologies and infrastructure for finding, which enables a particular city towards deploying and developing effective solutions and services for the citizens, governing agencies and business. Smart city project is associated with both opportunities and perils for the city. While considering the opportunity of Smart City project, it can be said that the projects promote mixed land usage for area based development. Moreover, these projects often plan for unplanned areas containing range of compatible activities for making land use more efficient.

According to Dameri (2013), social projects are concerned for housing and inclusiveness, which features for expanding housing opportunities for all in the society. These projects are highly concentrated on creating efficient localities trough reducing traffic congestion and resource depletion. While considering the evidence of Chicago, it can be seen that the smart city project uses GPS for locating snowplows, which enables in making citywide transportation more effective (Gabrys, 2014). Moreover, it is also concerned with high level of social interaction and security for the social people.  These projects boost local economy through economic integration within the city. On the other hand, Hollands (2008) opined that projects of smart city preserve and develop open spaces like playground, parks and recreational spaces for quality of life of the citizens with a particular city. Apart from that, the projects are also concerned with promotion of variety of transportation within a specific city.


Smart city development is also associated with making governance citizen friendly and cost effective. With the usage of ICTs, the smart cities can include increasing rely on online services. The project of smart city initiates e-government, which offers government services to the public through online channels. Moreover, the government bodies can share important information with the public through online mediums, which maintain the transparency between the government body and public in a city. Moreover, smart city projects are highly directed towards economic development based local economic activities like education, health, local cuisine, sports goods, furniture, dairy and many more.

While considering the perils of smart city project, it can even lead to social exclusion for the minority people from the overall development of the city. Moreover, Huxley (2015) opined that the resources of smart city projects are often limited to certain influential groups. The resources are majorly distributed among the people within the society people, who are more influential on political parties. The old age people in the society are often incapable of using the technically advanced services. Hence, such smart city development is actually excluding the old age people in regards to their development. On the other hand, poor people having economically inefficient are less likely to get access to the developed services of the smart cities. In this way, the smart city projects are actually excluding the minor group in its overall development. On the other hand, Hollands (2015) opined that smart city projects leads to social inequalities. Most of the smart city projects are concerned about business and industrial development within the city rather that social and economic development. The evidence is clear in the social inequalities of Singapore (Rosati & Conti, 2016). Hence, such project are actually giving benefits to industrialist and business persons and leading to social inequalities in terms of wealth distribution.

Conclusions

While concluding the study, it can be said that smart city projects invest in overall development of a particular city in terms of social, economic and environmental development.  Information and communication technology is at the center of smart city development. Moreover, digitalization has assisted in infrastructural development and other social development. The projects of smart city are actually intended for improving the quality of citizens’ life. Furthermore, smart city also enhance the human capability through distributed resource allocation and skills development. On the other hand, smart city projects are highly inclined towards overall economic development of a particular city with increasing support for industrialization. Smart city is also concerned about increasing greenery development of the city for making sustainable society. This development in data and connectivity can make it achievable in imagining the world, where real time information can be accumulated, analyzed and utilized for influencing public policy and building surroundings in smart ways.

References

Bak?c?, T., Almirall, E., & Wareham, J. (2013). A smart city initiative: the case of Barcelona. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 4(2), 135-148.

Dameri, R. P. (2013). Searching for smart city definition: a comprehensive proposal. International Journal of Computers & Technology, 11(5), 2544-2551.

Gabrys, J. (2014). Programming environments: environmentality and citizen sensing in the smart city. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 32(1), 30-48.

Grossi, G., & Pianezzi, D. (2017). Smart cities: Utopia or neoliberal ideology?. Cities, 69, 79-85.

Hollands, R. G. (2008). Will the real smart city please stand up? Intelligent, progressive or entrepreneurial?. City, 12(3), 303-320.

Hollands, R. G. (2015). Critical interventions into the corporate smart city. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), 61-77.

Huxley, P. (2015). Introduction to" Indicators and Measurement of Social Inclusion". Social Inclusion, 3(4), 50-51.

Jin, J., Gubbi, J., Marusic, S., & Palaniswami, M. (2014). An information framework for creating a smart city through internet of things. IEEE Internet of Things Journal, 1(2), 112-121.

Kummitha, R. K. R., & Crutzen, N. (2017). How do we understand smart cities? An evolutionary perspective. Cities, 67, 43-52.

Papa, R., Gargiulo, C., & Galderisi, A. (2013). Towards an urban planners’ perspective on smart city. TeMA Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 6(01), 5-17.

Rosati, U., & Conti, S. (2016). What is a Smart City Project? An Urban Model or A Corporate Business Plan?. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 223, 968-973.

Scuotto, V., Ferraris, A., & Bresciani, S. (2016). Internet of Things: Applications and challenges in smart cities: a case study of IBM smart city projects. Business Process Management Journal, 22(2), 357-367.

Shelton, T., Zook, M., & Wiig, A. (2015). The ‘actually existing smart city’. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), 13-25.

Shelton, T., Zook, M., & Wiig, A. (2015). The ‘actually existing smart city’. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), 13-25.

Zanella, A., Bui, N., Castellani, A., Vangelista, L., & Zorzi, M. (2014). Internet of things for smart cities. IEEE Internet of Things journal, 1(1), 22-32.

Zygiaris, S. (2013). Smart city reference model: Assisting planners to conceptualize the building of smart city innovation ecosystems. Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 4(2), 217-231.

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