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What is a Smart City for information systems research in Africa?

Review protocol and initial results

Article image

Judy Backhouse, Jason Cohen

05 November 2014

J.F. Van Niekerk


Lucille Tetley-Brown

Conference paper


South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Egypt

The concept of a "Smart City" has been approached from different perspectives by researchers from different fields in recent years. In the process, various characteristics of smartness have been proposed and explored. While there are elements in common, the different ways of understanding the term "Smart City" reveal different assumptions about cities and their inhabitants' contextual differences as well as disciplinary biases. There is the danger that the loose use of the term might create misunderstandings and dissent.

This paper sets out a protocol for a systematic review of research into information systems for Smart Cities. We report the initial findings of the review, analyse the ways in which a Smart City is defined by information systems researchers, and investigate the possibility of a consensus definition. We also interrogate the smart city efforts of five African cities (Cairo, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi) to understand the relevance of the definitions used by researchers to practitioners.


Abstract based directly on original source. Back to the SmartCity.ZA collection.


Website References




City planning






Smart Cities

South Africa

Sustainable development

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