Book Chapter

Stand up please, the real Sustainable Smart City



Webster CWR & Leleux C (2020) Stand up please, the real Sustainable Smart City. In: Willis KS & Aurigi A (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Smart Cities. Routledge International Handbooks. London: Routledge, pp. 225-238.

Discourses differ about what constitutes either a Smart city or a sustainable one. Assumptions are made regarding the positive impact of technology and their benefits to the environment. A Smart city is not necessarily a sustainable one, although the terms are increasingly fused together in the concept of the Sustainable Smart City (SSC). This chapter focuses on the participatory role of the citizen in the SSC, where this involves the use of new digital technologies. Conventional e-Government approaches focus on the transactional aspects of delivering services, rather than engaging citizens in participatory activities, while the traditional discourse on sustainability has focused more on environmentalism rather than societal sustainability. Sustainability, in the context of the SSC, is a much wider concept, where the goals include: improving the quality of citizens’ lives; co-creating sustainability values; and developing sustainable mechanisms for continuing engagement. This chapter unpacks the concept of the SSC by assessing the three dominant conceptual pillars that support its intellectual development, namely the participatory, digital technology and sustainability perspectives, and concludes that whilst they are increasingly interwoven there is a natural tension between each. If the ‘real’ SSC exists, it stands at the nexus of ICTs, citizen engagement and sustainable outcomes.

Title of seriesRoutledge International Handbooks
Publication date31/12/2020
Publication date online15/04/2020
Place of publicationLondon

People (1)


Professor William Webster

Professor William Webster

Personal Chair, Management, Work and Organisation