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Smart cities from scratch? a socio-technical perspective

December 07, 2016 by Luís Carvalho

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This paper argues that contemporary smart city visions based on ITs (information and tele- communication technologies) configure complex socio-technical challenges that can benefit from strategic niche management to foster two key processes: technological learning and societal embedding. Moreover, it studies the extent to which those processes started to unfold in two paradigmatic cases of smart city pilots ‘from scratch’: Songdo (South Korea) and PlanIT Valley (Portugal). The rationale and potentials of the two pilots as arenas for socio-technical experimentation and global niche formation are analysed, as well as the tensions and bottlenecks involved in nurturing socially rich innovation ecosystems and in maintaining social and political support over time.