Smart city planning and development shortcomings

  • Margarita Angelidou Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Keywords: smart city, shortcoming, challenge, problem, mitigation


This paper explores smart city planning and development shortcomings. In particular, it investigates eleven cases of smart city strategies and the shortcomings that were observed during their planning and implementation stages. The cases include: Barcelona Smart City, PlanlT Valley, Stockholm Smart City, Cyberjaya, King Abdullah Economic City, Masdar City, Skolkovo, Songdo International Business District, Chicago Smart City, Rio de Janeiro Smart City, and Konza Technology City. The paper proceeds with the synthesis of the findings and their critical appraisal. Shortcomings are classified into economic and budget shortages, bureaucratic and organizational challenges, challenges in the development and layout of digital services, poor physical planning, struggle to attract investment and support the development of new businesses, low performance in attracting and engaging users, and stakeholder resistance. In turn, the shortcomings are clustered in two distinct groups and analyzed in terms of causes and effects. The paper closes with mitigation propositions, accounting for past experience and novel approaches to this end.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Margarita Angelidou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Dr. Margarita Angelidou is a Post Doctoral researcher the at Faculty of Engineering, School of Architecture, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Urban and Regional Innovation Research (URENIO).


Alusi, A., Eccles, R. G., Edmondson, A. C., & Zuzul, T. (2010). Sustainable Cities: Oxymoron or the Shape of the Future? Harvard Business School Working Paper 11-062.

Angelidou, M. (2014). Smart city policies: A spatial approach. Cities, 41, S3-S11. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2014.06.007

Angelidou, M. (2015). Smart Cities: a conjuncture of four forces. Cities, 47, 95–106. doi: 10.1016/j.cities.2015.05.004

Angelidou, M. (2016). Four European Smart City Strategies. International Journal of Social Science Studies, 4(4), 18-30. doi: 10.11114/ijsss.v4i4.1364

Bakici, T., Almirall, E., & Wareham, J. (2012). A Smart City Initiative: the Case of Barcelona. Journal of the knowledge economy. Special Issue: Smart Cities and the Future Internet in Europe, 135-148. doi: 10.1007/s13132-012-0084-9

Barcelona Smart City Official Website (2016). BCN Smart City. Retrieved from

Barresi, A., & Pultrone, G. (2013). European strategies for smarter cities. TeMA Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment (1), 61-72. doi: 10.6092/1970-9870/1455

Bencardino, M., & Greco, I. (2014). Smart communities. Social innovation at the service of the smart cities. TeMA. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, Special Issue: Eighth International Conference INPUT. Smart City - Planning for Energy, Transportation and Sustainability of the Urban System, Naples, 4-6 June 2014, 39-51. doi: 10.6092/1970-9870/2533

Benedikt, O. (2016). The valuable citizens of smart cities: The case of Songdo City. Graduate Journal of Social Science, 12(1), 17-36.

Brooker, D. M. (2008). Intelligent cities? Disentangling the symbolic and material effects of technopole planning practices in Cyberjaya, Malaysia. Doctoral Thesis, Durham University. Retrieved from

Buck, N. T., & While, A. (2015). Competitive urbanism and the limits to smart city innovation: The UK Future Cities initiative. Urban Studies, doi: 0042098015597162.

Buscher, V., & Doody, L. (2013). Global Innovators: International Case Studies on Smart Cities, BIS Research Paper 135.

Calzada, I. (2017). The Techno-Politics of Data and Smart Devolution in City-Regions: Comparing Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and Bilbao. Systems, 5(1), 18. doi:10.3390/systems5010018

Carvalho, L. (2015). Smart cities from scratch? A socio-technical perspective. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), 43-60. doi: 10.1093/cjres/rsu010

Carvalho, L., Santos, I. P., & Van Winden, W. (2014). Knowledge spaces and places: From the perspective of a “born-global” start-up in the field of urban technology. Expert Systems with Applications, 41(12), 5647-5655. doi: 10.1016/j.eswa.2014.02.015

City of Chicago (2013). The City of Chicago Technology Plan. Retrieved from

Crang, M., Crosbie, T., & Graham, S. (2006). Variable geometries of connection: urban digital divides and the uses of information technology. Urban Studies, Special Issue: Planning ‘Smart’ City-regions in an Age of Market-driven Urbanism, 43(13), 2551-2570. doi: 10.1080/00420980600970664

Crot, L. (2013). Planning for Sustainability in Non-democratic Polities: The Case of Masdar City. Urban Studies, 50(13), 2809- 2825 doi: 10.1177/0042098012474697

Cugurullo, F. (2013). How to Build a Sandcastle: An Analysis of the Genesis and Development of Masdar City. Journal of Urban Technology, 20(1), 23-37. doi: 10.1080/10630732.2012.735105

Cyberjaya Official Website (2011). Retrieved from

Datta, A. (2015a). New urban utopias of postcolonial India: ‘Entrepreneurial urbanization’ in Dholera smart city, Gujarat. Dialogues in Human Geography, 5(1), 3-22. doi: 10.1177/2043820614565748

Datta, A. (2015b). A 100 smart cities, a 100 utopias. Dialogues in Human Geography , 5(1), 49-53. doi: 10.1177/2043820614565750

Eccles, R. G., Edmondson, A. C., Thyne, S., & Zuzul, T. (2010). Living PlanIT. Harvard Business School Working Paper 9- 410-081.

Eisenhardt, K. M. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of management review, 14(4), 532-550.

Elmaghraby, A. S., & Losavio, M. M. (2014). Cyber security challenges in Smart Cities: Safety, security and privacy. Journal of advanced research. Journal of advanced research, 5(4), 491-497. doi: 10.1016/j.jare.2014.02.006

Fernández-Vázquez, A., & López-Forniés, I. (2017). Analysis and comparison of Smart City initiatives. Advances on Mechanics, Design Engineering and Manufacturing. Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Mechanics, Design Engineering & Advanced Manufacturing, 14-16 September, 2016, Catania, Italy (pp. 363-371): Springer.

Günel, G. (2014). Masdar City's hidden brain; When monitoring and modification collide. Applied Research Practices in Architecture Journal (1).

Glasmeier, A. K., & Nebiolo, M. (2016). Thinking about Smart Cities: The Travels of a Policy Idea that Promises a Great Deal, but So Far Has Delivered Modest Results. Sustainability. Sustainability, 8(11), 1122. doi:

Goldstein, B. (2013). Open Data in Chicago: Game On. In B. Goldstein & L. Dyson (Eds.), Beyond transparency: Open data and the future of civic innovation (pp. 13-26). San Francisco, CA: Code for America Press.

Goodspeed, R. (2015). Smart cities: moving beyond urban cybernetics to tackle wicked problems. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), 79-92.

Graham, S., & Marvin, S. (2001). Splintering urbanism: networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition: Psychology Press.

Greenfield, A. (2013). Against the Smart City, from

Harrison, K. (2017). Who Is the Assumed User in the Smart City? In Designing, Developing, and Facilitating Smart Cities (pp. 17-32): Springer International Publishing.

Heo, T., Kim, K., Kim, H., Lee, C., Ryu, J. H., Leem, Y. T., & Ko, J. (2014). Escaping from ancient Rome! Applications and challenges for designing smart cities. Transactions on Emerging Telecommunications Technologies, 25(1), 109-119.

Hollands, R. G. (2008). Will the real smart city please stand up? City, 12(3), 303-320. doi: 10.1080/13604810802479126

Hollands, R. G. (2015). Critical interventions into the corporate smart city. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8(1), 61-77.

Kingsley, P. (2013). Masdar: the shifting goalposts of Abu Dhabi's ambitious eco-city. Retrieved from

Kitchin, R. (2014). The real-time city? Big data and smart urbanism. GeoJournal, 79(1), 1-14.

Kitchin, R. (2015). Making sense of smart cities: addressing present shortcomings. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, rsu027.

Komninos, N. (2011). Intelligent cities: Variable geometries of spatial intelligence. Intelligent Buildings International, 3(3), 172-188. doi: 10.1080/17508975.2011.579339

Konza City Official Website (2014). Retrieved from

Lee, J., & Oh, J. (2008). New Songdo City and the Values of Flexibility: A Case Study of Implementaion and Analysis of a Mega-Scale Project. Master of Science in Real Estate Development, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Retrieved from

Living Planit SA Official Website (2013). Retrieved from

Luque-Ayala, A., & Marvin, S. (2015). Developing a critical understanding of smart urbanism? Urban Studies, 52(12), 2105- 2116.

March, H., & Ribera-Fumaz, R. (2016). Smart contradictions: The politics of making Barcelona a Self-sufficient city. European Urban and Regional Studies, 23(4), 816-830.

Marvin, S., & Luque-Ayala, A. (2013). Smart urbanism: Utopian vision or false dawn? Routledge. Masdar City Official Website. (2013). Masdar City. Retrieved from

Meijer, A., & Bolívar, M. P. R. (2016). Governing the smart city: a review of the literature on smart urban governance. International Review of Administrative Sciences, 82(2), 392-408.

Mosannenzadeh, F., & Vettorato, D. (2014). Defining smart city. A conceptual framework based on keyword analysis. TeMA. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, Special Issue: Eighth International Conference INPUT. Smart City - Planning for Energy, Transportation and Sustainability of the Urban System, Naples, 4-6 June 2014, 683-694.

Mutegi, L. (2014). Kenya: "Sillicon Savannah" Set to Take Much Longer Time. Retrieved from

Neirotti, P., De Marco, A., Cagliano, A. C., Mangano, G., & Scorrano, F. (2014). Current trends in Smart City initiatives: Some stylised facts. Cities, 38, 25-36.

Nordin, R. (2012). Creating Knowledge - Based Clusters Through Urban Development: A study of Cyberjaya, MSC Malaysia. Doctoral Thesis, Rheinischen Friedrich - Wilhelms - Universität, Bonn. Retrieved from http://hss.ulb.uni-

O’Neil, D. (2013). Building a smarter Chicago. In B. Goldstein & L. Dyson (Eds.), Beyond transparency: Open data and thefuture of civic innovation (pp. 27-38). San Francisco, CA: Code for America Press.

Ojo, A., Curry, E., & Janowski, T. (2014). Designing Next Generation Smart City Initiatives-Harnessing Findings And Lessons From A Study Of Ten Smart City Programs. 22nd European Conference on Information Systems, 9-11 June, Tel Aviv.

Papa, R., Garguilo, C., & Galderisi, A. (2013). Towards an urban planners' perspective on smart city. TeMA. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment (1), 5-17. doi: 10.6092/1970-9870/1536

Papa, R., Galderisi, A., Majello, V., Cristina, M., & Saretta, E. (2015). Smart and resilient cities. A systemic approach for developing cross-sectoral strategies in the face of climate change. TeMA. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 8 (1), 19-49. doi: 10.6092/1970-9870/2883

Pierce, P., & Andersson, B. (2017). Challenges with smart cities initiatives–A municipal decision makers’ perspective. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 50th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.

Rio De Janeiro Centre of Operations Official Website (2014). Centro de Operações Rio, Prefeitura do Rio (in Portuguese). Retrieved from

Salvati, L., Morelli, V. G., Weijnen, M., Bueren, E. v., Wenzler, I., & Reuver, M. D. (2013). Towards Intelligently - Sustainable Cities? TeMA. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, (1), 73-86. doi: 10.6092/1970-9870/1496

Shwayri, S. T. (2013). A Model Korean Ubiquitous Eco-City? The Politics of Making Songdo. Journal of Urban Technology, 20(1), 39-55. doi: 10.1080/10630732.2012.735409

Smart Chicago Official Webpage (2014). Retrieved from

Songdo IBD Official Website (2013). Songdo IBD Retrieved from

Stockholm Smart City Official Website (2014). Retrieved from

Townsend, A. (2013). Smart cities: Big data, civic hackers, and the quest for a new utopia. New York, London: WW Norton & Company.

Van Den Bergh, J., & Viaene, S. (2015). Key challenges for the smart city: Turning ambition into reality. Paper presented at the 2015 48th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS).

Van Zoonen, L. (2016). Privacy concerns in smart cities. Government Information Quarterly, 33(3), 472-480. doi: 10.1016/j.giq.2016.06.004

Vanolo, A. (2016). Is there anybody out there? The place and role of citizens in tomorrow’s smart cities. Futures, 82, 26-36. doi: 10.1016/j.futures.2016.05.010

Watson, V. (2013). African urban fantasies: dreams or nightmares? Environment and Urbanization, 6. doi: 10.1177/0956247813513705

Yigitcanlar, T., & Ho Lee, S. (2014). Korean ubiquitous-eco-city: A smart-sustainable urban form or a branding hoax? Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 89, 100-114. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2013.08.034

Yusof, N. (2008). Cyberjaya: The making of a high-tech city. Doctoral Thesis, Nottingham Trent University.

Zubizarreta, I., Seravalli, A., & Arrizabalaga, S. (2015). Smart city concept: What it is and what it should be. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 142(1). doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000282

How to Cite
AngelidouM. (2017). Smart city planning and development shortcomings. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 10(1), 77-94.