engineering and technology

Smart city is not a technological utopia, but a motor of community development

smart city

The article of the research group of the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, which was awarded the title TTÜ best research article in 2017 in the field of social sciences and humanities, elaborated the smart city concept from the perspective of governance and innovation studies.

One of the authors of the article, Professor at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance of TTÜ School of Business and Governance Wolfgang Johannes Max Drechsler says, “Urbanization is one of the most important global trends we face today. The urban population is increasing worldwide and cities have become economic centres that through the consumption of massive resources lead to heavy environmental impact. This in turn has brought about social contestations and conflicts.”

This has created an urgent need for new conceptualizations for a city that will be able to deal with the current issues in more imaginative, inclusive and sustainable ways. In this context, the term “smart city” has emerged, which might, at first sight, seem slightly ambitious.

“The currently predominant smart city concept is a technology-led urban utopia based on centrally controlled (info)technological infrastructures (more smart gadgets and sensors everywhere!). Our research group proposes a more comprehensive approach. This perspective combines the technological approach with modern socio-economic development models and trends,“ Professor Drechsler says.

The article “Making (in) the smart city: The emergence of makerspaces” published in a high-impact professional journal Telematics and Informatics  addresses specifically  the learning, innovation, collaboration and democratic governance potential of community platforms (incl. makerspaces, hackerspaces, fablabs, etc.) emerging in smart cities.

Additional information: Professor at the R. Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance Wolfgang Johannes Max Drechsler

Reference: Vasileios Niaros, Vasileios Kostakis, Wolfgang Johannes Max DrechslerMaking (in) the smart city: The emergence of makerspaces“. Telematics and Informatics, 34(7), 1143−1152.


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