Urban Planning and the Smart City: Projects, Practices and Politics

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-7635

Editorial | Open Access

Urban Planning and the Smart City: Projects, Practices and Politics


  • Andrew Karvonen Department of Urban Planning and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden
  • Matthew Cook School of Engineering and Innovation, Open University, UK
  • Håvard Haarstad Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway / Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Bergen, Norway


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Abstract:  Today’s smart city agendas are the latest iteration of urban sociotechnical innovation. Their aim is to use information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve the economic and environmental performance of cities while hopefully providing a better quality of life for residents. Urban planners have a long-standing tradition of aligning technological innovation with the built environment and residents but have been only peripherally engaged in smart cities debates to date. However, this situation is beginning to change as iconic, one-of-a-kind smart projects are giving way to the ‘actually existing’ smart city and ICT interventions are emerging as ubiquitous features of twenty-first century cities. The aim of this thematic issue is to explore the various ways that smart cities are influencing and being influenced by urban planning. The articles provide empirical evidence of how urban planners are engaging with processes of smart urbanisation through projects, practices, and politics. They reveal the profound and lasting influence of digitalisation on urban planning and the multiple opportunities for urban planners to serve as champions and drivers of the smart city.

Keywords:  digitalisation; innovation; planners; smart cities; urban planning

Published:   13 March 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v5i1.2936


© Andrew Karvonen, Matthew Cook, Håvard Haarstad. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.