The era of the smart city has arrived. Only a decade ago, the promise of optimising urban services through the widespread application of information and communication technologies was largely a techno-utopian fantasy. Today, smart urbanisation is occurring via urban projects, policies and visions in hundreds of cities around the globe.

Inside Smart Cities provides real-world evidence on how local authorities, small and medium enterprises, corporations, utility providers and civil society groups are creating smart cities at the neighbourhood, city and regional scales. Twenty three empirically detailed case studies from the Global North and South – ranging from Cape Town, Stockholm and Abu Dhabi to Philadelphia, Hong Kong and Santiago – illustrate the multiple and diverse incarnations of smart urbanism. The contributors draw on ideas from urban studies, geography, urban planning, science and technology studies and innovation studies to go beyond the rhetoric of technological innovation and reveal the political, social and physical implications of digitalising the built environment.

Collectively, the practices of smart urbanism raise fundamental questions about the sustainability, liveability and resilience of cities in the future. The findings are relevant to academics, students, practitioners and urban stakeholders who are questioning how urban innovation relates to politics and place.

chapter 1|12 pages


Situating smart cities

part 1|17 pages

Grounding and contextualising

chapter 2|17 pages

Realising Smart Cities

Partnerships and economic development in the emergence and practices of smart in Newcastle, Australia

chapter 3|15 pages

Dissecting the Frankenstein City

An examination of smart urbanism in Hong Kong

chapter 4|20 pages

Ordinary Chinese Smart Cities

The case of Wuhan

part 2|19 pages

Integrating and aligning

chapter 6|19 pages

Actually Existing Smart Dublin

Exploring smart city development in history and context

chapter 7|15 pages

Smart Cities as Strategic Actors

Insights from EU Lighthouse projects in Stavanger, Stockholm and Nottingham

chapter 8|16 pages

Smart Goes Green

Digitalising environmental agendas in Bristol and Manchester

chapter 10|14 pages

The transnational smart city as urban eco-modernisation

The case of Masdar City in Abu Dhabi

part 3|19 pages

Contradicting and challenging

chapter 11|19 pages

Acknowledging the Idiot in the Smart City

Experimentation and citizenship in the making of a low-carbon district in Santiago de Chile

chapter 12|15 pages

A Smart Equivocation

Co-laboration and subsidiarity in a smart city consortium

part 4|16 pages

Experiencing and encountering

chapter 15|16 pages


From corporate smart city to technological sovereignty

chapter 16|15 pages

Smart Innovation at the Margins

Learning from Cape Town and Kibera

chapter 17|17 pages

Innovating for an Ageing Society

Insights from two Japanese smart cities

chapter 18|16 pages

Life in Smart Seoul

The female factor

chapter 19|8 pages


The long and unsettled future of smart cities