Towards Smart Cities by Internet of Things (IoT)—a Silent Revolution in China

  • Tao Song
  • Jianming Cai
  • Teresa Chahine
  • Le LiEmail author


In recent years, smart technologies and networking solutions, such as Internet of things (IoT), have been adopted by most leading cities in China as ways to revitalize economic opportunities and strengthen their global resilience to climate change. This paper presents the concept of the smart city, which serves as a complex system by integrating sensors, data, applications, and organizational forms to make cities more agile and sustainable when faced with global climate changes. The paper provides a comprehensive assessment of smart city initiatives in China in recent years. Six key conceptual dimensions of smart city practices are classified: energy, agriculture, transport, buildings, urban services, and urban security operations. Chinese smart city policy and practices explore renewable energy and resources, increase public convenience, and make cities more comfortable and citizen friendly. Critical concerns are explored in such areas as integration (within the urban system, with other cities), governance, innovation, and finance. Finally, a policy vision is outlined to build up public-private collaborative networks, to encourage more innovations and investments in smart city initiatives, and to put more emphasis on smart services.


Smart city Internet of things China Sustainability Policy Best practices 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Health, School of Public HealthHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.School of ArchitectureTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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