Newly Accepted Research Highlights Arctic Smart City Challenges

Illustrasjon fra havna i Bodø.

Illustration photo from Bodø harbor, Norway. Photo by Markus Thonhaugen / High North Center.

Newly Accepted Research Highlights Arctic Smart City Challenges
Questions the sustainability of Arctic smart cities.

A new paper titled "Smart cities for a sustainable Arctic? Introducing critical debate" by Evgenii Aleksandrov and Elena Dybtsyna from the High North Center at Nord University Business School, has been accepted in the peer-reviewed journal Polar Geography.

The study delves into the relationship between smart city initiatives and the sustainability of Arctic urban areas, presenting a critical examination of the current techno-optimistic perspectives.

Smart Cities in Arctic Sustainability

The authors argue that while smart cities are often hailed as solutions for urban efficiency and environmental mitigation, their actual contribution to Arctic sustainability remains unclear, especially when evaluated beyond technological advancements.

They highlight three major areas where Arctic smart city initiatives may face challenges:

  1. Development Metrics: The paper questions the effectiveness of current metrics used to evaluate smart city initiatives in the Arctic. The authors argue that these metrics often reflect a technological optimism that may not align with the practical realities of Arctic cities.
  2. Politics and Bureaucratization: The paper explores how political agendas and bureaucratic processes shape smart city projects. It suggests that centralized policies and funding mechanisms can sometimes create more obstacles than opportunities for local adaptation and innovation.
  3. Role of Citizens: Emphasizing the role of local populations, the study critiques the often superficial involvement of residents and Indigenous communities in smart city planning. It calls for more inclusive approaches that genuinely engage these groups in the decision-making process.
SMART CITIES: How smart are they? Illustration photo from Bodø. Photo by Markus Thonhaugen / High North Center.

Provides Essential Perspectives

The study provides valuable insights for scholars, practitioners, and policymakers involved in Arctic urban development. It encourages a shift from viewing smart cities as one-size-fits-all solutions to recognizing the complexities and unique challenges of Arctic urban sustainability.

It calls for interdisciplinary research and policy development that considers local conditions and actively involves Arctic residents in the planning and implementation of smart city initiatives.

Read the full paper here:

Disclaimer: This article's first draft was created using AI tools and the editor's own notes, with expert oversight to ensure accuracy and quality. Contact editor.

About: Polar Geography

  • Polar Geography is a quarterly peer-reviewed academic journal covering research on the physical and human aspects of the Polar regions of Earth.
  • It is published by Taylor & Francis and was established in 1977. From 1980 to 1994 it was known as Polar Geography and Geology.

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