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.
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