Smart Governance across Cities in the Contemporary Era

Release time:2017-08-16 13:29:00

Deadline extended to September 10 for Call for Papers - Special Issue - Journal of Urban Affairs

Guest Editors

Kevin C. Desouza
Foundation Professor, School of Public Affairs, Arizona State University


Naim Kapucu
Professor and Director, School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida


Jiannan Wu*
Distinguished Professor, China Institute for Urban Governance, Shanghai Jiao Tong University


*Corresponding Editor

In 2014, 54% of the world's population, or 3.9 billion people, lived in urban areas. That's up from one-third in 1950, and forecasters say the proportion will rise to 66% by 2050. While we have seen a rise in urbanization over the last few years, and expect this trend to intensify, most of our cities face severe challenges such as environmental pollution to fragile transportation infrastructures, a burgeoning of the socio-economic gaps, increasing crime and poor provision of public safety services, and inaccessible housing.

Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in activity around making cities “smarter” and “intelligent” through the creative application of information systems. In an ideal world, a smarter (and intelligent) city should be able to leverage data in real-time so as to increase its situational awareness, thereby enabling for effective and efficient decision-making at the individual, organizational, and collective levels so as to advance its goals of resilience, sustainability, and livability.

From a design, planning, and implementation perspective however, our theoretical and empirical knowledge on smart cities is limited. One reason for this is the simple fact that the term smart/intelligent city is nebulous. Some use the term smart city to highlight advances in sustainability and greening of the city, while others use the term to portray infusion of information via technologies to better the lives of citizens that reside in these spaces. Even others consider the presence of high-level of citizen engagement in the design and governance of the space as a key attribute of smarter cities.

Fundamental questions on the topic of smart cities remain unexplored. For example, what are the baseline features of a smart city? Alternatively, how would you be able to distinguish a smart city from one that is not? This is a non-trivial question, as at some level all cities have some level of intelligence (smartness) so long as they are not in total disarray (e.g. under conditions of war, famine, etc.).

Two concepts that seem to be fundamental to conceptualizing smart cities are sustainability and resiliency. How these concepts get incorporated into a cities fabric requires careful examination. Other questions that require scholarly consideration include: how do you plan for a smart city? Most planners have to work within existing infrastructure, space, and governance constraints. Given these realities, what are the most tangible ways to infuse intelligence into the planning processes and outcomes so as to get realize the vision of smarter cities? How can you retrofit existing plans, systems, and infrastructures to make them smarter?

Governance of cities to make them smarter is also a critical issue. Collaborative governance that brings together multiple stakeholders is essential to tackle complex planning and design problems towards the design of smart cities. Our knowledge in this area is also deficient. What are decision-making and planning frameworks that work in the context of design of smart cities? Do smart cities learn from their peer cities, if so, how? How do you engage citizens in a bottom-up (emergent) manner to arrive at designs and plans that impact their cities?

Finally, planning for (and designing) smart cities requires us to visualize them as complex adaptive systems. Cities are comprised of multiple systems from physical (e.g. power grids) to social (e.g. economic) each of which are complex on their own right. The complexity rises (most often exponentially) as these systems interact with each other. Moreover, each of these systems have components that interact with each other (and also interact with components in other systems) at multiple scales. Information moves within and across the various systems. The management of information across the various systems is critical if we are to realize the goal of building smart cities. How do you study the interactions among the various subsystems and infrastructures within a city? How are information pipelines designed to coordinate local systems so as to increase global situational awareness? How are emerging technologies (e.g. mobile apps) and the availability of data at finer granularities (e.g. through open data initiatives) changing the nature of planning?

This special issue will take a multi-disciplinary view to the concept of smart cities. Papers that explore the theoretical and applied dimensions of smart cities are welcome. We are open to all methodological approaches. Submissions may address any of the following topics but are not limited to these:

Planning and governance of emerging technologies (e.g. autonomous vehicles, drones, robotics)

Intelligent approaches to disaster management, emergency planning, and informatics for increased resilience

Collaborative governance across approaches jurisdictions and sectors including public budgeting, resource pooling, infrastructure management, and social innovation

Analytics and performance management in the context of public agencies

Innovations in delivery of public services

Public private partnerships – case of successful ones and failures

Smart infrastructure, buildings, waste management

Planning of smarter urban transportation networks, including sharing economy models (e.g. Uber, Lyft, etc.) and retrofitting and upgrading infrastructure

Open data, crowdsourcing, and big data analytics for real-time situational awareness and intelligent decision-making

Key Dates

Call for abstract deadline: September10, 2017

Notification for abstract acceptance: September 25, 2017

Full paper discussion: October 29-30, 2017 (it is not required though we encourage, please see below for more information about 2017 Global Cities Forum)

Full paper submitted to Journal of Urban Affairs: December, 1, 2017 (All papers need to be submitted directly through the manuscript system:

Xinjian Building,Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 1954 Huashan Road, Shanghai, China