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The Origin and Implementation of the Smart-Sustainable City Concept: The Case of Malmö, Sweden

Freeman, Gabrielle LU (2017) In IIIEE Theses IMEN56 20171
The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics
Abstract
The concept of a smart-sustainable city (SSC) has recently come to dominate urban sustainability political agendas and academic discourses in Europe. This thesis investigates (1) the origination of the SSC concept, (2) how it is being framed as an approach to sustainable urban development, and (3) how it can be contextualized in concrete projects and urban planning initiatives in the city of Malmö, Sweden. The SSC is founded on the convergence of several prevailing international trends: the devolution of international environmental governance to the local level; the increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in urban planning and development; and the decentralization of economic policymaking to municipal... (More)
The concept of a smart-sustainable city (SSC) has recently come to dominate urban sustainability political agendas and academic discourses in Europe. This thesis investigates (1) the origination of the SSC concept, (2) how it is being framed as an approach to sustainable urban development, and (3) how it can be contextualized in concrete projects and urban planning initiatives in the city of Malmö, Sweden. The SSC is founded on the convergence of several prevailing international trends: the devolution of international environmental governance to the local level; the increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in urban planning and development; and the decentralization of economic policymaking to municipal governments.

As a strategic approach to sustainable development, an SSC is one that promotes the use of ICT and collaborative public-private partnerships as the primary means of balancing green economic growth with low carbon, sustainable development. This concept is founded on the significant potential of ICT to promote energy and resource efficiency in urban services and systems and to drive behavioral changes as citizens make more data-informed decisions about their lifestyle and consumption patterns. Proponents argue that more collaborative partnerships in cities foster coordination, innovation and attract necessary resources to help
cities address complex sustainability problems.

While the SSC concept has been criticized by some social science researchers for its overemphasis on technology and for reframing urban sustainability challenges as market opportunities for private companies and corporations, the case of Malmö reveals a more positive outlook. The Malmö example shows that ideas and strategies inherent within the SSC concept can successfully create technologically and ecologically advanced neighborhoods, but also risk excluding parts of the city and its population from accessing any benefits created. While the SSC concept is not without its faults, contradictions and hyperbole, this thesis concludes that the SSC model for sustainable development can offer opportunities to engage a
diversity of actors in finding solutions to a city’s most pressing and complex sustainability challenges. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Freeman, Gabrielle LU
supervisor
organization
course
IMEN56 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
smart-sustainable cities, sustainable development, ICT, climate change
publication/series
IIIEE Theses
report number
2017:06
ISSN
1401-9191
language
English
id
8924149
date added to LUP
2017-08-30 12:42:50
date last changed
2017-08-30 12:50:20
@misc{8924149,
  abstract     = {The concept of a smart-sustainable city (SSC) has recently come to dominate urban sustainability political agendas and academic discourses in Europe. This thesis investigates (1) the origination of the SSC concept, (2) how it is being framed as an approach to sustainable urban development, and (3) how it can be contextualized in concrete projects and urban planning initiatives in the city of Malmö, Sweden. The SSC is founded on the convergence of several prevailing international trends: the devolution of international environmental governance to the local level; the increasing use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in urban planning and development; and the decentralization of economic policymaking to municipal governments.

As a strategic approach to sustainable development, an SSC is one that promotes the use of ICT and collaborative public-private partnerships as the primary means of balancing green economic growth with low carbon, sustainable development. This concept is founded on the significant potential of ICT to promote energy and resource efficiency in urban services and systems and to drive behavioral changes as citizens make more data-informed decisions about their lifestyle and consumption patterns. Proponents argue that more collaborative partnerships in cities foster coordination, innovation and attract necessary resources to help
cities address complex sustainability problems.

While the SSC concept has been criticized by some social science researchers for its overemphasis on technology and for reframing urban sustainability challenges as market opportunities for private companies and corporations, the case of Malmö reveals a more positive outlook. The Malmö example shows that ideas and strategies inherent within the SSC concept can successfully create technologically and ecologically advanced neighborhoods, but also risk excluding parts of the city and its population from accessing any benefits created. While the SSC concept is not without its faults, contradictions and hyperbole, this thesis concludes that the SSC model for sustainable development can offer opportunities to engage a
diversity of actors in finding solutions to a city’s most pressing and complex sustainability challenges.},
  author       = {Freeman, Gabrielle},
  issn         = {1401-9191},
  keyword      = {smart-sustainable cities,sustainable development,ICT,climate change},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {IIIEE Theses},
  title        = {The Origin and Implementation of the Smart-Sustainable City Concept: The Case of Malmö, Sweden},
  year         = {2017},
}