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Sustainable development of the business environment in smart cities: a hierarchical framework

Mingnan Jiang (Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Yang Gao (Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Mingwei Jin (Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)
Sitong Liu (Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 1 July 2020

Issue publication date: 3 May 2021




The purpose of this study is to explore a sustainable hierarchical framework for the business environment in smart cities. However, this hierarchical framework must consider unnecessary attributes and interrelationships between criteria to capture the difference between smart cities and traditional cities.


Hence, the fuzzy set theory is used for screening unnecessary attributes, the decision-making and trial evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) is applied to manage the complex interrelationships among the aspects and attributes and interpretive structural modeling (ISM) is used to divide the hierarchy and construct a hierarchical theoretical framework. Ultimately, this research is applied to develop a sustainable hierarchical framework of the business environment in smart cities.


The results show that traditional social problems are still at the core of business environment development in smart cities, new smart opportunities may be discovered, but they are still limited by traditional social factors, the economy is still the main aspect of the business environment and there are still obstacles to solving social problems with smart technologies.


This theoretical hierarchical framework aims to guide smart cities toward sustainability. This study also proposes creating a predictable business environment by improving administrative efficiency, transparency, social mobility and infrastructure services and cultivating new business opportunities with intelligent technology.



Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval: Ethical review and approval was not required for the study on human participants in accordance with the local legislation and institutional requirements.

Consent procedures: Written informed consent from the [patients/participants or patients/participants legal guardian/next of kin] was not required to participate in this study in accordance with the national legislation and the institutional requirements.


Jiang, M., Gao, Y., Jin, M. and Liu, S. (2021), "Sustainable development of the business environment in smart cities: a hierarchical framework", Kybernetes, Vol. 50 No. 5, pp. 1426-1448.



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