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Smart cities as hybrid spaces of governance: beyond the hard/soft dichotomy in cyber-urbanization

Golubchikov, Oleg ORCID: and Thornbush, Mary J. 2022. Smart cities as hybrid spaces of governance: beyond the hard/soft dichotomy in cyber-urbanization. Sustainability 14 (16) , e10080. 10.3390/su141610080

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This paper problematizes the dichotomy of hard (technocratic) and soft (societal) approaches to the smart city. Smart cities are reviewed as hybrid spaces that transcend the sum of the social and the technical. By providing platforms for enabling, monitoring, digitalizing, formalizing, and amassing information about collective and personal experiences and behaviors, smart cities accelerate the customization of existing urban services and establish new spaces of socialization, accumulation and regulation, including in hitherto hard-to-reach realms of everyday and personal life. These experiences signify the emergence of cyber-physical-social spaces, featuring the hybridization of the digital, governance, and sociocultural domains. The production of such hybrid spaces of governance is reviewed through 50 urban-level strategies for smart cities in different countries across the world. The analysis confirms the tendencies towards a hard/soft fusion and the ever-deepening interpenetration of the digital, physical, and social elements in smart cities. This suggests epistemological problems of separating the hard and soft domains. However, this integration still creates political and analytical tensions that are arguably evident in the early stages of the digital transition.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Additional Information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).
Publisher: MDPI
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 15 August 2022
Date of Acceptance: 2 August 2022
Last Modified: 19 May 2023 16:25

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