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From “Smart in the Box” to “Smart in the City”

Rethinking the Socially Sustainable Smart City in Context

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Alessandro Aurigi, Nancy Odendaal

29 January 2020

Journal of Urban Technology


uKESA Librarian 2

Journal article

South Africa, Brazil

This paper focuses on the importance of framing and conceiving smart urban initiatives and schemes in a highly context-sensitive way, and argues that place-based approaches are essential for enhancing the social sustainability of smart cities.


It does so by highlighting how such a perspective is often ignored by discourses. Smart city visions tend to favour generalized, socially skewed ways of framing the “city” as well as the citizens who are expected to become “smart” and benefit from high technologies.


These narratives, the paper argues, leave out the important nuances and social and spatial interstices that make places unique, and by doing so weaken the ability of smart to be inclusive, potentially affording a rich landscape of technological appropriation and making cities more resilient.


Abstract based directly on the original source


Website References


Built environment


Human settlements


Smart Cities

Smart cities

Smart technologies

South Africa



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