Smart cities as a mechanism towards a broader understanding of infrastructure interdependencies

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Cities are centres of innovation, but they also face great challenges such as rapid urbanization, climate change and increased pressure on city services. While working in partnership has been considered as an essential element in urban management, the increasing interconnected nature of infrastructure networks has provided opportunities for reshaping the decision-making process, enabling new sites of experimentation and stimulating sustainable and inclusive urban infrastructure. However, in the UK, the current approach to infrastructure management and creation make infrastructure networks vulnerable. After its introduction in 2008, the concept of ‘smart city’ has promised to offer, through the use of smart technologies and data, a means to solve the unprecedented challenges being faced today in more integrated ways. This paper explores whether ‘smart cities’, as integrated infrastructures, can go beyond connecting just a series of physical assets in the city. By looking at two smart city examples, namely Bristol and Milton Keynes in the UK, as sites of experimentation as well as technological assemblages, the paper argues that three elements emerge as important factors: ensuring collaboration, inclusion and institutional capacity in the context of mobilizing collective learning and transforming city infrastructure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-31
JournalRegional Studies, Regional Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Smart city
  • infrastructure
  • interdependency
  • urban experiments


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