To read this content please select one of the options below:

What makes a smart village smart? A review of the literature

Paolo Gerli (The Business School, Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, UK)
Julio Navio Marco (Department of Business Organisation and Management, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain)
Jason Whalley (Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and Institut Mines-Télécom Business School, Paris, France)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 22 February 2022

Issue publication date: 12 July 2022




Smart villages (SVs) have lately attracted considerable attention, but what does the term mean? This literature review aims to explore its ambiguous nature and to identify main theoretical and practical aspects to be further explored in the conceptualisation and implementation of these initiatives.


The analysis draws upon a review of 79 references from the grey and academic literature on SVs, identified through a systematic search of academic databases and snowball sampling.


This review highlights how the definition and characterisation of SVs is currently shaped by disciplinary backgrounds and geographical contexts. SVs are often viewed as the rural version of smart cities or an innovative model for rural development, but there has been little engagement in the literature with other debates around rurality and sustainable development. It is only through engaging with these other debates that a better understanding of the term will emerge.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper to conduct a systematic review on SVs. In addition to identifying the main trends in the conceptualisations and design of these initiatives, this paper contributes to the academic debate on smart rural development and provides useful recommendations to both policy makers and practitioners.



A previous version of this paper was presented at International Telecommunications Society Biennial Conference in July 2021.


Gerli, P., Navio Marco, J. and Whalley, J. (2022), "What makes a smart village smart? A review of the literature", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 292-304.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles