Inclusive Smart Cities

A special issue of Smart Cities (ISSN 2624-6511).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 November 2024 | Viewed by 6086

Image courtesy of Rongbo Hu

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Emeritus Professor Doctor, Chair of Building Realization and Robotics, Technical University of Munich, Munich, Germany
Interests: construction robotics; robotic prefabrication of building components; automated on site construction robotics; ambient integrated robotics for aging society; robot oriented design
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Faculty of Science and Technology, Keio University, Yokohama 223-8522, Japan
Interests: construction robotics; robot-oriented design; ambient assisted living; gerontechnology; smart village; vertical urbanism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, due to the widening of the wealth gap, the intensification of climate change, and the acceleration of both population aging and population growth, our cities are being tested by multiple economic, environmental, and social challenges including but not limited to urban sprawl, urban gentrification, housing crisis, tent city, urban flooding, urban heat island, environmental migrants, urban slums, tent cities, urban aging, and empty nesters. In the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic and regional conflicts have undoubtedly exacerbated these problems. Our cities, to a large extent, are becoming more and more exclusive.

In recent years, on the other hand, on top of new concepts and strategies of urban planning and design, emerging technologies such as big data, cloud computing, Internet of things (IoT), advanced communication technologies (5G/6G), artificial intelligence, robotics, and augmented reality have undoubtedly provided infinite possibilities for the development of smart cities, and also brought opportunities to solve the problems that plague cities. Furthermore, in accordance with the political-societal systems, the whole value chain for building and maintaining our cities can be optimized for higher return on investment by design for manufacturing and assembly, and on-site automation in order to achieve better affordability and accessibility for more dwellers.

Therefore, this Special Issue aims to attract relevant high-quality research articles on the design, construction, and maintenance processes of inclusive smart cities, or smart cities for all, using technology that are friendly to all city dwellers, especially those that are vulnerable, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, education, wealth, and social status. The scope of potential submissions can be on the micro, mezzo, and macro levels of smart cities. Articles from either a technological or a social perspective are both welcome. The topics of interest for this Special Issue include but are not limited to the following:

  • 15-minute city;
  • adaptability;
  • age-friendly city;
  • augmented urban spaces;
  • automation;
  • availability;
  • e-governance;
  • floating city;
  • inclusive smart city;
  • low-cost smart city;
  • open data governance;
  • slum regeneration;
  • smart urban mobility;
  • smart urbanism;
  • smart village;
  • smart waste management;
  • standardization of smart city;
  • sustainable city;
  • urban accessibility;
  • urban digital twins;
  • urban energy harvesting;
  • urban engineering;
  • urban farming;
  • urban manufacturing;
  • urban resilience;
  • urban robotics;
  • vertical city;
  • vertical urbanism.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Bock
Dr. Rongbo Hu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Smart Cities is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • age-friendly city
  • augmented urban spaces
  • E-governance
  • inclusive smart city
  • low-cost smart city
  • slum regeneration
  • smart waste management
  • urban resilience
  • urban robotics
  • vertical city

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 3393 KiB  
Article
Redesigning Municipal Waste Collection for Aging and Shrinking Communities
by Andante Hadi Pandyaswargo, Chaoxia Shan, Akihisa Ogawa, Ryota Tsubouchi and Hiroshi Onoda
Smart Cities 2024, 7(3), 1149-1168; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7030049 - 16 May 2024
Viewed by 270
Abstract
Due to aging and depopulation, cities in Japan struggle to maintain their municipal waste collection services. These challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic. To overcome these challenges, a prototype of collective and contactless waste collection technology has been developed. However, its acceptance by [...] Read more.
Due to aging and depopulation, cities in Japan struggle to maintain their municipal waste collection services. These challenges were exacerbated by the pandemic. To overcome these challenges, a prototype of collective and contactless waste collection technology has been developed. However, its acceptance by society is unknown. In this study, we surveyed Japanese people’s preferences regarding household waste disposal. The results showed that older adults (older than 60) are willing to walk longer (more than 2 min) to carry their waste to the disposal site than younger adults. They are also less concerned about the risk of disease infection from touching other people’s garbage than younger respondents (at a 0.24 count ratio). Other significant findings are that people who live alone prefer the temporary disposal site to be placed more than one minute away from their house (at a 0.19 count ratio). People living alone also produce less plastic and packaging waste than larger households. With more Japanese older adults living alone because of the scarcity of older-adult care facilities, we proposed two waste collection strategies that can allow for the implementation of more collective and automatized contactless waste pickup technology. Each design poses different challenges, such as the need for residents’ cooperation and a higher energy supply. However, they also open new opportunities, such as encouraging active aging and using renewable energy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Smart Cities)
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16 pages, 497 KiB  
Article
Smart Cities for All? Bridging Digital Divides for Socially Sustainable and Inclusive Cities
by Johan Colding, Caroline Nilsson and Stefan Sjöberg
Smart Cities 2024, 7(3), 1044-1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7030044 - 3 May 2024
Viewed by 592
Abstract
This paper aims to emphasize the need for enhancing inclusivity and accessibility within smart-city societies. It represents the first attempt to apply Amartya Sen’s capability approach by exploring the implications of digital divides for promoting inclusive and climate-friendly cities that prioritize well-being, equity, [...] Read more.
This paper aims to emphasize the need for enhancing inclusivity and accessibility within smart-city societies. It represents the first attempt to apply Amartya Sen’s capability approach by exploring the implications of digital divides for promoting inclusive and climate-friendly cities that prioritize well-being, equity, and societal participation. Sen’s framework recognizes individual variations in converting resources into valuable ‘functionings’, and herein emphasizes the importance of aligning personal, social, and environmental conversion factors for individuals to fully navigate, participate in, and enjoy the benefits provided by smart cities. Adopting the capability approach and employing a cross-disciplinary analysis of the scientific literature, the primary objective is to broaden understanding of how to improve inclusivity and accessibility within smart-city societies, with a specific focus on marginalized community members facing first- and second-level digital divides. This paper underscores the importance of adopting a systemic perspective on climate-smart city navigation and stresses the importance of establishing a unified governing body responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and enhancing smart-city functionality. The paper concludes by summarizing some policy recommendations to boost social inclusion and address climate change in smart cities, such as creating capability-enhancing institutions, safeguarding redundancy in public-choice options, empowering citizens, and leveraging academic knowledge in smart-city policy formulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Smart Cities)
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25 pages, 8799 KiB  
Article
Fit Islands: Designing a Multifunctional Virtual Urban Community to Promote Healthy Aging for Chinese Older Adults
by Zixin Shen, Rongbo Hu, Dong Wan and Thomas Bock
Smart Cities 2024, 7(1), 208-232; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities7010009 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 960
Abstract
Within the context of an aging global population, the demographic structure of emerging economies is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Emerging economies have a large population base and rapid economic development, but they are ill-prepared to deal with population aging. Limited resources force many [...] Read more.
Within the context of an aging global population, the demographic structure of emerging economies is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Emerging economies have a large population base and rapid economic development, but they are ill-prepared to deal with population aging. Limited resources force many older adults to face health issues such as chronic diseases and loss of physical independence, exacerbating the burden of traditional family and societal elderly care. Uncontrollable events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and regional conflicts have exacerbated the plight of older adults. Improving the quality of life and health of older adults has become a development priority in emerging economies in the face of a rapidly aging population. The development of smart cities has brought with it many available digital technologies, and the consequent development of smart aging offers endless possibilities for improving the quality of life and health of older people, making cities more inclusive of older people. Researchers from developed economies have attempted to address the health issues of older adults through a technology that combines physical exercise and digital technology called Exergame. However, existing projects are not suitable for older adults in emerging economies due to differences in national conditions. The aim of this project is therefore to propose a universal approach to designing a health-promoting Exergame system in the format of a virtual urban community to help emerging economies cope with aging populations, making cities more inclusive. To verify the feasibility of this approach, the authors designed an expandable Exergame called “Fit Islands”, using China as a case study. Based on the initial demonstration, the authors conducted functional tests. The result is that Fit Islands can meet the development objective of motivating Chinese older people to increase their physical activity, providing initial evidence of the feasibility of an Exergame system to promote healthy aging in emerging economies. The application of Fit Islands demonstrates the feasibility of the universal Exergame development method, which can, in principle, provide comprehensive and practical guidance for other countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Smart Cities)
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15 pages, 5060 KiB  
Article
The Use of the Smart Technology for Creating an Inclusive Urban Public Space
by Mohammed Itair, Isam Shahrour and Ihab Hijazi
Smart Cities 2023, 6(5), 2484-2498; https://doi.org/10.3390/smartcities6050112 - 20 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3034
Abstract
This paper strives to enhance the inclusivity of urban public spaces, which play a crucial role in providing essential services for all citizens, including community building, physical and mental well-being, social interaction, civic engagement, citizen participation, and economic vitality. Despite the importance of [...] Read more.
This paper strives to enhance the inclusivity of urban public spaces, which play a crucial role in providing essential services for all citizens, including community building, physical and mental well-being, social interaction, civic engagement, citizen participation, and economic vitality. Despite the importance of these spaces, as recognized by the UN’s 2030 sustainability goals, the 2023 UN sustainable development report and scholars have drawn attention to their low availability, particularly for low-income individuals, women, children, and people with disabilities. To improve the inclusivity of public spaces, this paper offers the following contributions. (i) The establishment of a comprehensive framework for assessing public space inclusivity. This framework incorporates eight indicators: spatial distribution, typology, facilities and services, green and humid areas, governance and management, safety, user categories, and user satisfaction. (ii) The utilization of the framework to assess the inclusivity of public spaces in Nablus, a major Palestinian city. This assessment confirms the observations made by the UN and scholars regarding the low inclusivity of public spaces; in particular, a lack of public space, poor spatial distribution, and user dissatisfaction with safety conditions and services. (iii) The introduction of the concept of smart public space, which involves citizens in the governance of this space and leverages smart technology for monitoring, providing real-time information and services to citizens, improving facility efficiency, and creating an eco-friendly environment that preserves resources and biodiversity. By addressing these aspects, this paper enhances inclusivity. It promotes the development of an urban public space that caters to the diverse needs of the community, fostering a sense of belonging and well-being for all. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inclusive Smart Cities)
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