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Hult, Henrik and Granath, Hannes, 2018. The smart city – powerful but frightfully vulnerable? : a study of resilience building in high-tech societies. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management (from 130101)



Urban development has long been shaped and affected by technological development. The latest urban ideal is to invite the digital world to form the so called smart city. The smart city is arguably gaining momentum and its principles are becoming materialized in more and more cities around the world. As envisioned, this might just cast a shadow over previous technologies in terms of its ubiquitousness and its alleged potential for solving some of our times most urgent problems. However, our general concern is that the momentum and imagined solution-orientation towards urgent urban problems may override a constructive debate on whether the smart city is being rolled out in such a way as to enhance and not undermine the ability of cities to withstand and cope with stress while maintaining the ability to reorganize while undergoing change. In other words, is the smart city a friend or foe to the quest of building resilience? As a nascent urban development ideal, we think that this is an optimal time to begin mapping out challenges that the smart city poses and try to understand the societal implications thereof.

The aim of this study is divided in two: firstly, a conceptual aim to scrutinize the smart city through a theoretical resilience lens in order to identify key challenges, and secondly to complement this, an empirical curiosity on how practitioners in smart city initiatives approach some of these challenges. Due to the fact that many smart cities still are in their early stages, this study in many ways deal with potential challenges that smart cities may entail. Hence this study, on a genera level, aims to explore and map out relevant aspects of resilience that potentially will become more important over time as the technological development of smart cities progresses.

This study finds that what seems to be the most pertinent challenge in building resilient smart cities is to keep pace with threats that can exploit the emerging risk landscape that the smart city give impetus to. It is nothing but a daunting task to cater to a city that in practice ought to be smart but at the same time not in danger of being frightfully vulnerable. Additionally, this study finds that it is challenging to reserve proper attention to non-functional aspects in the planning and implementation phase, such as safeguarding smart technology from various intrusions and attacks and involving citizen in the process, with consequences for resilience. This, we conclude, has much to do with the challenge of thoroughly grasping the impact of technology as a determining factor of how the city develops.

Main title:The smart city – powerful but frightfully vulnerable?
Subtitle:a study of resilience building in high-tech societies
Authors:Hult, Henrik and Granath, Hannes
Supervisor:Lindholm, Gunilla and Vogel, Nina
Examiner:Diedrich, Lisa Babette and Haaland, Christine
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2018
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM004 Sustainable Urban Management - Master Programme 120 HEC, None
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management (from 130101)
Keywords:smart city, resilience, technology, citizen, robustness, flexibility
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Landscape architecture
Deposited On:10 Jul 2018 13:30
Metadata Last Modified:27 Feb 2019 10:46

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