Cities around the world are entering a new era of transformation in which residents and their surrounding environments are increasingly connected through rapidly-changing intelligent technologies, sometimes called, smart technologies. This transformation, which has become a top priority for many city governments, offers great promise for improved wellbeing and prosperity but, also, poses significant challenges at the complex intersection of technology and society.
Although smartness has been traditionally associated with urban environments, lately, there is stronger emphasis on the concept of smart communities. On one hand, this is the result of recognizing the existence of several contexts that can benefit from the use of smart technologies: there exists a continuum of groups of people from localities or villages to communities, communes, towns, places, cantons, cities, and megacities. On the other hand, it is the consequence of conceptualizing smartness beyond technology and in relation to the people living in those communities, who are united by common goals, interests, and challenges. A smart and connected community can therefore be conceptualized as a community that synergistically integrates intelligent technologies with the natural and built environments, including infrastructure, to improve the social, economic, and environmental well-being of those who live, work, or travel within it. Building on the notion of community informatics, smart communities can be seen as enabling and empowering citizens and supporting the individual and communal quests for wellbeing.
Although the literature is rich in references to smart cities and communities, this is still a developing and fuzzy concept that is not used consistently. Despite the different definitions and studies, there seems to be agreement on the fact that a smart community is a multidimensional and multifaceted concept that goes beyond the mere use of technology and infrastructure. Although technology is a necessary condition to become smart, it is not the only one. City administration and community management, information integration, data quality, privacy and security, institutional arrangements, and citizen participation are just some of the issues that need greater attention to make a community smarter today and in the near future. The literature on smart cities and communities is fragmented, particularly in terms of the strategies that different cities and communities should follow in order to become smarter. What most of the literature does agree on is that there is no one route to becoming smart and different communities have adopted different approaches that reflect their particular circumstances.
This mini track aims at exploring these issues, paying particular attention to the challenges of smart cities and smart communities as well as to the impact of these initiatives. It also focuses on the orchestrated interplay and balance of smart governance practices, smart public administration, smart communities, smart resources and talent leverage in urban, rural, and regional spaces facilitated by novel uses of ICT and other technologies.
Mila Gascó holds a MBA and a Ph. D. in public policy evaluation. She is the Associate Research Director of the CTG UAlbany as well as a Research Associate Professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, both at the University at Albany – SUNY. Before joining SUNY, Dr. Gascó served as a senior researcher at the Institute of Governance and Public Management (currently known as ESADEgov - Center for Public Governance) and the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Management, both at ESADE Business & Law School in Spain. Her areas of research are mainly related to information and technology in government and, among other, they include electronic and open government, e-governance, public sector innovation, smart cities, and public policy evaluation. In addition, she has worked for a wide variety of organizations such as the United Nations Development Program, the Mayor’s Office in Valencia (Venezuela), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the City Council and the Provincial Council of Barcelona, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the Latin American Centre on Management for Development, the World E-Governments Organization of Cities and Local Governments, the Inter-American Development Bank, or Google.
Theresa A.Pardo, PhD is Director of CTG UAlbany at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she is also a full research professor in Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. Dr. Pardo serves as OpenNY Adviser to New York State’s Governor Cuomo and is chair of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee. She is founder of the Smart Cities, Smart Government Research-Practice Global Consortium and a Past-President of the Digital Government Society. She serves on the User Working Group of the NASA Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC), the Business and Operations Advisory Committee of the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Steering Committee of the North East Big Data Innovation Hub. Dr. Pardo is one of the top five most cited authors in digital government, and in 2018, was selected as one of top 100 most influential people in digital government globally.
Taewoo Nam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration and Graduate School of Governance at Sungkyunkwan University, Korea. He is also a Research Fellow at the Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, State University of New York. As an advisor in the performance evaluation board of the Korean national government, he helps the government evaluate the performance of national reform initiatives and programs. His research interests comprise government innovation, open government, citizen participation, and digital government. Recent publications appear in various journals such as Government Information Quarterly, Telematics and Informatics, Social Science Computer Review, Computers in Human Behavior, International Review of Administrative Sciences, International Review of Public Administration, International Journal of Public Administration, Journal of Urban Technology, Journal of Information Technology and Politics, and Information Polity.
Center for Technology in Government
University at Albany, SUNY
187 Wolf Road, Suite 301
Albany, NY 12205, USA
Theresa A. Pardo
University at Albany, State University of New York
Albany, New York, U.S.
Department of Public Administration and Graduate School of Governance
Sungkyunkwan University, Korea