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Constructing definition of smart cities from systems thinking view

Anita Singh (Department of Information Technology and Knowledge Management, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi, India)
A.R. Singla (Department of Information Technology and Knowledge Management, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi, India)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 12 October 2020

Issue publication date: 6 July 2021

458

Abstract

Purpose

On review of literature on “Smart Cities”, it can be asserted that there are multiple definitions of the term “Smart Cities”; however, a universally accepted definition of “Smart Cities” has not been adopted till date. In these circumstances of uncertainty, this paper aims to propose a conclusive definition of “Smart Cities” from systems thinking view.

Design/methodology/approach

The key properties, components and dimensions of “Smart Cities” were identified through text analysis of existing definitions of smart cities in literature using tools such as word cloud, network graph, bubble chart, mind map and web chart of top keywords. The definitions were further subjected to principal component analysis to identify the key components such as characteristics and enablers of “Smart Cities”. The concept of “Smart Cities” was then examined from systems thinking view, to arrive at a systemic understanding of the concept, as it examines the key elements of Government, Citizens and Business using the Golden Circle tool (Why, What and How). Thereon, the interactions between these elements were scrutinized by drawing a Systemigram, which aided in constructing the definition of “Smart Cities”. Thereafter, the validity of the definition was empirically tested by applying it to a set of cities and testing the efficiency of cities through data envelopment analysis.

Findings

The Literature Review and definition analysis of “Smart Cities” have not only facilitated in identifying elements of widely accepted constructs of “Smart Cities” also helps in advancing a formal conceptual definition of “Smart Cities”. A formal definition, which is commonly accepted, would enable researchers in advancing theory and building measurement instruments for “Smart Cities”.

Originality/value

Given the fact that there is no uniform definition of “Smart Cities” leading to varying standards for conceptualization or construction of a “Smart City”, this paper attempts to propose a formal conceptual definition of “Smart Cities” from systems thinking view. Thus, this paper shall not only attempt to advance theory building of the concept of “Smart Cities” but shall also provide a reference to researchers and practitioners, to enable them to build appropriate measures for Smart Cities.

Keywords

Citation

Singh, A. and Singla, A.R. (2021), "Constructing definition of smart cities from systems thinking view", Kybernetes, Vol. 50 No. 6, pp. 1919-1950. https://doi.org/10.1108/K-05-2020-0276

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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