The terminology of ‘smartness’ is pervasive. This includes the concepts of ‘smart growth’, which attempts to reconcile competing social, economic and environmental aspects of sustainability, and that of ‘smart cities’, which has connotations not only of ICT, but of learning, institutional innovation and governance.
This essay explains how notions of smartness can be extended to more explicitly deal with the governance process of finding balanced answers to multiple agendas, and to cover the regional scale in which cities operate. We are left with a broad approach to conceptualising and investigating issues of pressing concern for urban areas in a national and international context.
The ideas in the piece are based on the forthcoming Routledge book, ‘Smart city-regionalism in transition,’ co-authored by Tassilo Herrschel and Yonn Dierwechter, and shaped by a recent conference organised by the Regional Studies Research Network on Smart City-Regional Governance for Sustainability. The authors are members of this network.
Image: aerial view of the Manchester skyline. Copyright: Neil Mitchell / courtesy of Shutterstock.com.