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The Sustainable City Becomes Climate-Smart: How Smart City Ideas Reshape Urban Environmental Governance
Linköping University, Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8388-7633
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Den hållbara staden blir klimatsmart : Hur föreställningar om smarta städer förvandlar miljöstyrning i städer (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

The idea of smart cities has become enormously popular during the past decade. Environmental governance is one issue in which smart city ideas seem to hold potential. However, there is an incredible variety in what it means for a city to be ‘smart’. For some, it involves the use of information and communication technology (ICT) to solve problems; for others, it has more to do with economic growth and city branding. Many social science researchers have criticised the idea of smart cities. They worry that it might allow multinational corporations to take control of municipal governance and lead to an undue focus on technological solutions to societal issues. However, only a few previous studies have examined the influence on urban environmental governance in practice. This thesis investigates the influence of smart city ideas on urban environmental governance through a study of Hyllie, a climate-smart city district in Malmö, Sweden. It applies a theoretical perspective based on science and technology studies and the concept of assemblage. It combines participant-observation of inter-organisational meetings, interviews with professionals and document analysis. This thesis contributes a more comprehensive picture of which actors influence the direction of the climate-smart city—beyond the usual suspects of municipal governments and multinational companies. Still, it shows how ICT-based smart city solutions have taken precedence in urban environmental governance at the expense of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Abstract [sv]

Smarta städer har blivit oerhört populärt koncept under det senaste decenniet. Miljöstyrning är ett område där smarta städer visar potential. Det finns dock många tolkningar av vad ordet ’smart’ betyder för städer. För vissa handlar det om tillämpning av informations- och kommunikationsteknik (IKT) för att lösa problem, för andra om ekonomisk tillväxt och marknadsföring av städer. Många samhällsvetenskapliga forskare kritiserar föreställningen om den smarta staden. De bekymrar sig över att multinationella företag tillåts ta makt över miljöstyrning och ett alltför stort fokus på teknologiska lösningar för samhällsfrågor. Få tidigare studier har undersökt påverkan på miljöstyrning i praktiken. Avhandlingen utforskar hur föreställningar om smarta städer påverkar miljöstyrning genom en studie av Hyllie, en klimatsmart stadsdel i Malmö. Den tillämpar ett teoretiskt perspektiv som bygger på teknik- och vetenskapsstudier samt begreppet assemblage. I avhandlingen används deltagande-observation av möten mellan olika organisationer, intervjuer med professionella och dokumentanalys. Avhandlingen bidrar med en mer mångsidig bild av vilka aktörer som påverkar utvecklingen av den klimatsmarta staden, utöver kommuner och multinationella företag. Den visar dock även att IKT-lösningar i den smarta staden blir viktigare i städers miljöstyrning på bekostnad av energieffektivitet och förnybar energi.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2018. , p. 90
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Sciences, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 738
Keywords [en]
Smart cities, Environmental governance, Smart grids, Assemblage
Keywords [sv]
Smarta städer, Miljöstyrning, Smarta nät
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147310DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-147310ISBN: 9789176852996 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-147310DiVA, id: diva2:1198132
Public defence
2018-06-07, TemCAS, Tema-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-04-20 Created: 2018-04-16 Last updated: 2019-09-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Energy efficiency left behind?: Policy assemblages in Sweden’s most climate-smart city
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Energy efficiency left behind?: Policy assemblages in Sweden’s most climate-smart city
2019 (English)In: European Planning Studies, ISSN 0965-4313, E-ISSN 1469-5944, Vol. 27, no 2, p. 318-335Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Smart city experiments have the potential to reshape urban climate change governance. Smart city initiatives have been supported by international technology companies and the European Union for many years and continue to be promoted by national and municipal governments. In relation to sustainability and climate change, such initiatives promise more efficient use of resources through the use of information and communications technology in energy infrastructure. Experiments with smart city technologies such as urban smart grids have shown the potential to restructure relationships between energy utilities, energy users and other actors by reconfiguring the dynamics of energy supply and demand. But do urban experiments lead to institutional change? The aim of the article is to provide a better understanding of how smart city experiments reshape the urban governance of building energy use. Hyllie, a new city district in Malmö, Sweden, was home to two smart city experiments that contributed to the institutionalization of urban smart grid technology. However, the analysis of Hyllie’s policy assemblages shows that this institutional change could redefine sustainability at the expense of energy efficiency.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Smart cities, smart grids, urban governance, urban experimentation, sustainable buildings, assemblage
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147300 (URN)10.1080/09654313.2018.1455807 (DOI)000453694200006 ()2-s2.0-85044346839 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2018-04-16 Created: 2018-04-16 Last updated: 2019-10-30Bibliographically approved

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