Thesis Working Title

Smart Cities: Their Formation and Governance

Smart Cities have emerged as a proposed solution to growing problems of urbanization and climate change. The emergence of smart cities is a relatively recent but fast-moving phenomenon that has raised a host of unanswered questions. The research aims to address some of the principal questions about the Smart City Governance (SCG) concept, the governance ecosystem of a smart city, and the governance of smart city initiatives. 

Harnessing technology to develop smart cities creates many new challenges, including the requirement to develop new capabilities and capacities as well as new institutions and innovative governance. Although governance is considered as a vital dimension, its role and importance in the field of smart cities are under-investigated. The research begins with a review of the extant literature that explores the different meanings, definitions, dimensions and frameworks of smart cities. The first substantive part of the research aims to study the concept of governance in a smart city context.  Specifically, it aims to develop the concept of Smart City Governance (SCG) and its link to collaborative governance. This part of the literature review provides a strong foundation for the construction of the SCG framework. There are various questions around the collaborative governance of smart city initiatives and our SCG framework would try to answer those questions. The second aim of the research is to apply the SCG framework for the purpose of analysing the governance of smart city initiative.  Specifically, the framework will be used to determine the factors that explain successful or unsuccessful governance of smart city initiative.

The third aim of the research is to examine (at a city scale) how a ‘smart city’ unfolds, this part of research would explore, the diverse initiatives underway and how they are managed and governed. Using the case of Limerick to show how it evolved from ‘accidental smart city’ towards ‘an articulated smart city’ (Dourish, 2016). Limerick has mobilized itself as a smart city through its “Smart Limerick” programme. Our research tries to explore the working of “Smart Limerick” and to examine how it coordinates, manages and governs different smart city initiatives.