Posts

Smart Governance in the Contemporary Era: Journal of Urban Affairs

Naim Kapucu (University of Central Florida), Jiannan Wu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University), and I have co-edited a special issue of Journal of Urban Affairs on smart governance in the contemporary era.

In the 21st century, we have seen an increase in activity around making cities “smarter” and “intelligent” through the creative application of information systems. In an ideal world, a smarter (and intelligent) city should be able to leverage data in real time to increase its situational awareness, thereby enabling effective and efficient decision-making at the individual, organizational, and collective levels to advance its goals of resilience, sustainability, and livability. From a design, planning, policy, and implementation perspective, however, our theoretical and empirical knowledge on smart cities is limited. One reason for this is the simple fact that the term smart city is nebulous. Some use the term smart city to highlight advances in sustainability and greening of the city, while others use the term to portray infusion of information via technologies to better the lives of citizens that reside in these spaces. Even others consider the presence of a high level of citizen engagement in the design and governance of the space as a key attribute of smarter cities. It is our pleasure to put forth five papers as part of this special issue on smart governance across cities in the contemporary era. The papers provide guidelines for cities to consider for designing and managing smart communities.

To access the issue, please click [LINK]

Urban Heat Islands – Sustainable Cities and Society

Kenan Degirmenci, Walter Fieuw, Richard T. Watson, Tan Yigitcanlar, and I have an article in Sustainable Cities and Society.

Policy and technology responses to increased temperatures in urban heat islands (UHIs) are discussed in a variety of research; however, their interaction is overlooked and understudied. This is an important oversight because policy and technology are often developed in isolation of each other and not in conjunction. Therefore, they have limited synergistic effects when aimed at solving global issues. To examine this aspect, we conducted a systematic literature review and synthesised 97 articles to create a conceptual structuring of the topic. We identified the following categories: (a) evidence base for policymaking including timescale analysis, effective policymaking instruments as well as decision support and scenario planning; (b) policy responses including landscape and urban form, green and blue area ratio, albedo enhancement policies, transport modal split as well as public health and participation; (c) passive technologies including green building envelopes and development of cool surfaces; and (d) active technologies including sustainable transport as well as energy consumption, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and waste heat. Based on the findings, we present a framework to guide future research in analysing UHI policy and technology responses more effectively in conjunction with each other.

To access the article, click [LINK]

Pathways to the Making of Prosperous Smart Cities

New paper published with M. Hunter, B. Jacob, and T. Yigitcanlar in Journal of Urban Technology.

Pathways to the Making of Prosperous Smart Cities: An Exploratory Study on the Best Practice

In this paper, we examine the understudied issue of the pathways to smart cities. While the extant literature on smart cities offers several insights into what smart cities are, with a few notable exceptions, it has less to say about how they come to be. With this latter question in mind, we identify three pathways to smart cities: (1) a greenfield development pathway, (2) a neighborhood development pathway, and (3) a platform-oriented platform. Drawing on nine different case studies, we offer some insights into the way in which each of these pathways is, more or less, able to realize the desired smart-city objectives. While exploratory in nature, the study offers unique insights into the pathways to smart cities as well as areas for future research.

To access the paper, please click [here].

The Growing Fragility of Cities – 2019 ICMA Annual Conference

I will present findings from my research on fragile cities at the 2019 Annual ICMA Conference. This research was funded by ICMA as part of my research fellowship. Michael Hunter collaborated with me on this research project.

Resiliency, cybersecurity, and creating more sustainable places are all topics being discussed by local government practitioners and scholars. Could it be that as local governments are increasing reliance on technology that they are becoming more fragile in the absence of considering some of the socio-economic consequences? Join this roundtable to offer your thoughts and opinions.

Research Partnerships – Brazil – August

I am spending the next two weeks in Brazil visiting colleagues and developing research partnerships. I will deliver two research seminars:

Shaping the Future of Autonomous Systems in Society: Research with Impact

Emerging technologies are fundamentally impacting and transforming all aspects of our society. I am particularly concerned with how technological innovations impact 1) the design of our public institutions, 2) the apparatuses through which we shape, implement, and evaluate public policies, and 3) our governance frameworks for public goods. All indications suggest that we are moving toward a world where autonomous systems will dictate how we interface and interact with other agents and objects in our society. We can take advantage of emerging technologies to make our societies more livable, just, resilient, and sustainable. To realize this future, we need active and sustained engagement by scholars across a myriad of disciplines, especially public policy and management.

Public policy and governance scholars have largely been absent when it comes to engineering efforts related to the design and deployment of autonomous systems and policy debates that will shape their impact on our society. In this talk, I will outline why we need active engagement by public policy and management scholars during phases of autonomous systems development and implementation. Examples will be drawn from over a dozen research engagements that have studied emerging technologies in the public sector, from predictive analytic systems to blockchain, social media platforms, and machine learning algorithms. I will outline key governance dilemmas and policy challenges confronting public agencies as they try to keep up with the rapid pace of technological innovations.

Studying complex phenomena requires us to undertake research that 1) draws on multiple disciplines, 2) engages a diverse group of stakeholders, 3) appreciates a plurality of research approaches, and 4) generates actionable solutions. Executing inter-disciplinary research is no easy feat to accomplish. Researchers face daunting challenges from the onset; beginning with the inception of ideas, continuing to the crafting of problem statements, executing the research process, and then communicating the results via publications in academic and practitioner outlets. However, these challenges should not be viewed as an excuse to abandon inter-disciplinary research in favor of narrowly focused research exercises. Opportunities for use-inspired research will be discussed. In addition, I will present a working model for executing inter-disciplinary research that has served me well. I will openly share some of the trials and tribulations that I have encountered along the way.

Scheduling meetings: Feel free to send me an email. I will be in Vitória from Aug 10-13 and in Rio de Janeiro from Aug 14-18.