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Measuring smart cities transition : an analytical model

Nicol Turletti

Measuring smart cities transition : an analytical model.

Rel. Nadia Caruso, Umberto Janin Rivolin Yoccoz, Jörg Knieling. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale, 2014



The present thesis tackles the issues of smart cities and transition. It tries to put together these two themes by using a specific governance approach in order to evaluate the smart city initiative of Turin. This particular approach allows to understand if a change in practices and strategies represents a proper transition or not. During the dissertation, smart city and transition concepts will be discussed in order to define their meaning. In particular, great attention will be put in giving an overview of what smart city means and in defining the difference between a simple change and a transition.

The overall aim is represented by the use of Transition Management as a governance approach to evaluate Turin’s smart city initiative. What is expected to be found is if the general process of becoming smart is steered in an integrated, comprehensive and structured way or if the initiative proceeds by single events. Indeed, Transition Management allows to understand if and how this takes place, through the analysis of the governance activities included in the process.

A transition is considered to be the proper way of tackling these types of issues. What distinguishes a transition process from a simple change is that the former must have some requirements in order to happen. When this occurs, the change can be considered as acquired by society, shared and common for the majority of people and, overall, persistent. Indeed, what is considered to be mostly important, is that if a process of change takes place, it encounters the agreement of society upon its purposes. Moreover, in order to be effective, lasting and to influence people’s life, transitions require common and diffuse efforts of the entire society to make them happen. For these reasons, is considered that smart city initiatives should be developed as transition processes. They, in fact, have a great potential of influencing people’s life and, on the contrary, people can do a lot in order to participate at this process. If this doesn’t happen, the risk is that changes occur just in the form but not in the content. In other words, people’s involvement in cities’ transformation is at stake, because without it efforts won’t be useful.

The idea of pursuing this general aim was born during an internship experience in Hamburg, at HafenCity University’s research department. There, issues of smart cities and transition were part of the projects that the department was developing, but separately. The idea of trying to apply the transition’s governance approach to smart city initiatives was born thinking about what a great change these latter could represent in the future for cities. Consequently, the thought that in these situations a transition approach was expedient came clear.

This process is developed across the following chapters. In the second chapter an overview on the concept of smart city is proposed, taking into account different understandings that it assumes. Furthermore, European and Italian points of view in this regard are outlined, as well as the main critiques moved against this issue. The third chapter develops the theoretical background of Transition Management, in order to understand from which context the analytical model is derived. In particular, the concept of transition is outlined in the first part and Transition Management approach is described in the second. Theoretical background chapter of Transition Management is based entirely on scientific literature about the topic (excnsition” that will ). The same can be saitackle th smart city coxclusions about European anduts together tcity with Tranrder t analytical model, shaprticular case. Indeed, this is done through some cm s been daptations have been applied to the model ito this particular topic. Then, in the fifth ch nitiativr. This analysis leads to the final recommeorder to suggest what can be done to improve the proc Turin’s master-plan considers currently available domart City. Moreover, where infor of the foundations that are steering the process have been consulted. Thus, the analysis has to be considered as a personal conclusion derived from the consultation of official sources about this initiative. Finally, overall conclusions are discussed.

Relators: Nadia Caruso, Umberto Janin Rivolin Yoccoz, Jörg Knieling
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: U Urbanistica > UK Pianificazione urbana
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Pianificazione Territoriale, Urbanistica E Paesaggistico-Ambientale
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3981

1. Introduction

2. The “Smart City” concept

2.1 Different understandings

2.1.1 A broad concept

2.1.2 Focus on ICTs

2.1.3 Sustainable Smart Cities

2.1.4 Smart Governance

2.2 The European and Italian discourses

2.2.1 The European discourse

2.2.2 The Italian discourse

2.3 Critique

3. Governing transitions

3.1 Multi-Level perspective and transitions

3.1.1 Multi-Level Perspective of transition theory

3.1.2 Transition requires innovation

3.1.3 Understanding transition

3.1.4 European transition

3.2 Transition Management

3.2.1 Reflexivity

3.2.2 Transition Management

3.2.3 Transition Management key elements

3.2.4 Transition Management cycle

4. An analytical model for Smart Cities transition

4.1 Smart city transition

4.1.1 Its meaning

4.1.2 Its importance

4.2 Transition Management as analytical model

5. How to Become Smart: Turin’s case study

5.1 Turin Smart City

5.1.1 Aims

5.1.2 Actors

5.1.3 The process

5.2 The analysis

5.3 Recommendations

6. Conclusion

7. References

8. Acknowledgements


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