How to succeed in implementing (smart) sustainable urban Agendas: “keep cities smart, make communities intelligent”


United Nations-Habitat New Urban Agenda and European Union’s Urban Agenda are today’s international Agendas safeguarding sustainability of our cities and communities. Although in different ways, these Agendas also incorporate “smart” concepts and therefore acknowledge the important role that technology plays, especially in both delivery and implementation. However, although the incorporation of the technological element, Agenda’s sustainable policies have poor adoption and this is due to the lack of executive instruments to help their implementation. In this research, the Author proposes a novel technologically enabled executive function to better succeed in the implementation of Agendas, the so-called Policies-Actuated-Planning (PAP), and an executive instrument, the Actuators. Differently from existing Actuators that leverage on the Internet-of-Things to trigger a function on a given urban device, the proposed Actuators put a policy at work through the technological execution of urban planning interventions. Hence, the name Policies-Actuated-Planning (PAP) is given. Moreover, Actuators constitute a novel accountability system to measure the performance in the implementation of policies since they offer pioneering qualitative monitoring functionalities. Finally, to mention that the PAP relies on Author’s several times published Intelligenter Method, which is based on a bottom-up, collaborative and holistic-systemic approach to complex systems. The use of Intelligenter Method principles results in Actuator’s technologically enabled execution of city policies implemented at the lowest possible level, the community.

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Correspondence to Maria-Lluïsa Marsal-Llacuna.

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Marsal-Llacuna, M. How to succeed in implementing (smart) sustainable urban Agendas: “keep cities smart, make communities intelligent”. Environ Dev Sustain 21, 1977–1998 (2019).

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  • Sustainable urban Agendas
  • Urban planning
  • Urban policies
  • Implementation instruments
  • Smart cities