Smart city agendas of African cities
Increasing numbers of people live in cities, making cities an important focus for development. Cities have common problems associated with many people living together comfortably: food supply, water and power, waste management, transportation, accommodation, and keeping order. These problems are now being faced on previously unimagined scales. One understanding of Smart Cities is that new technologies, like new information and communication technologies, present opportunities to manage these problems more effectively.
Africa is home to some of the oldest and largest cities in the world and several African cities are important centres of learning, political power, and international trade. Research shows that the approaches cities take to becoming Smart Cities relate to factors like economic development, geographic location, and population. So it is likely that African cities approach smart city agendas in ways that reflect these contextual issues.
This paper investigates how African cities understand the idea of a Smart City by examining what smart city agendas are being pursued in five cities on the continent and how these agendas are informed by local realities. The paper identifies competing discourses of social inclusion and development that benefit all city residents and smart-looking cities that benefit businesses and the elite.
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