PUBLICATION Journal article

Applying a Systems Perspective on the Notion of the Smart City

This paper focuses on the need for a widened definition of the notion of technology within the smart city discourse, with a particular focus on the “built environment”. The first part of the paper describes how current tendencies in urban design and architecture are inclined to prioritize high tech-solutions at the expense of low-tech functionalities and omits that information and communication technology (ICT) contrasts the art of building cities as an adaptable and habitually smart technology in itself. It continues with an elaboration on the need for expanding the limits of system boundaries for a better understanding of the energy and material telecouplings that are linked to ICT solutions and account for some perils inherent in smart technologies, such as rebound effects and the difficulty of measuring the environmental impacts of ICT solutions on a city level. The second part of the paper highlights how low-tech technologies and nature-based solutions can make cities smarter, representing a new technology portfolio in national and international policies for safeguarding biodiversity and the delivery of a range of ecosystem services, promoting the necessary climate-change adaption that cities need to prioritize to confer resilience.

Keywords: biodiversity, built environment, digital technology, ICT, nature-based solutions, resilience, smart city, urban design and architecture

Colding, J. M. Wallhagen, P. Sörqvist, L. Marcus,, K. Hillman, K. Samuelsson and S. Barthel. 2020. Applying a Systems Perspective on the Notion of the Smart City. Smart Cities 3(22).