The Leading Smart Sustainable Paradigm of Urbanism and Big Data Computing: A Topical Literature Review

  • Simon Elias BibriEmail author
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)


The big data revolution is set to erupt in both smart cities and sustainable cities throughout the world. This is manifested in bits meeting bricks on a vast scale as instrumentation, datafication, and computation are routinely pervading urban environments. As a result, smart sustainable urbanism is becoming more and more data-driven. Explicitly, big data computing and the underpinning technologies are drastically changing the way both smart cities and sustainable cities are understood, operated, managed, planned, designed, developed, and governed in relation to sustainability in the face of urbanization. This implies that urban systems are becoming much more tightly integrated and urban domains much more highly coordinated while more holistic views and synoptic city intelligence can now be provided thanks to the possibility of drawing together and interlinking urban big data as well as reducing urban life to a form of logic and calculative procedures on the basis of powerful computational algorithms. These data-driven transformations are in turn being directed for improving, advancing, and maintaining the contribution of smart sustainable/sustainable smart cities to the goals of sustainable development. This chapter provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art review of smart sustainable/sustainable smart cities as a leading paradigm of urbanism in terms of the underlying foundational components and assumptions, research status, issues and debates, research opportunities and challenges, future practices and horizons, and technological trends and developments. As to the findings, this chapter shows that smart sustainable urbanism involves numerous issues that are unsolved, largely ignored, or underexplored from an applied theoretical perspective. And, a large part of research in this area focuses on exploiting the potentials of big data technologies and their novel applications as an effective way to mitigate or overcome the issue of sustainable cities and smart cities being extremely fragmented as landscapes and weakly connected as approaches. The comprehensive overview of and critique on existing work on smart sustainable urbanism provides a valuable reference for researchers and practitioners in related research communities and the necessary material to inform these communities of the latest developments in the area of smart sustainable urban planning and development. The outcome of this topical review will help strategic city stakeholders to understand what they can do more to advance sustainability based on big data technology and its novel applications, and also give policymakers an opportunity to identify areas for further improvement while leveraging areas of strength with regard to the future form of sustainable smart urbanism in the era of big data.


Smart sustainable urbanism Smart sustainable cities Big data computing Big data analytics Data deluge Big data applications Sustainability Sustainable development 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Department of Urban Planning and DesignNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway

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