Toward the Integration of the Data-Driven City, the Eco-city and the Compact City: Constructing a Future Vision of the Smart Sustainable City

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


At the beginning of a new decade, we have the opportunity to look forward and consider what we could achieve in the coming years in the era of big data revolution. Again, we have the chance to consider the desired future of the data-driven smart sustainable city as we are in the midst of an expansion of time horizons in city planning and development. Sustainable cities look further into the future when forming scenarios. The movement toward a long-term vision arises from three major megatrends or macro-shifts that shape our societies at a growing pace: sustainability, disruptive technology, and urbanization. Recognizing a link between these trends or shifts, sustainable cities have adopted ambitious goals that extend far into the future, which relate to the way they should be monitored, understood, and analyzed to improve, advance, and maintain their contribution to sustainability, and hence to overcome the kind of wicked problems, intractable issues, and complex challenges they embody. Indeed, sustainable cities and smart cities as landscapes and approaches are extremely fragmented and weakly connected, respectively. Moreover, there are multiple visions of, and pathways to achieving, smart sustainable cities based on how they can be conceptualized and operationalized. As a corollary of this, there is a host of opportunities to explore toward new approaches to smart sustainable urbanism. The aim of this futures study is to analyze, investigate, and develop a novel model for smart sustainable city of the future using backcasting as a scholarly and planning methodology. In doing so, it endeavors to integrate the physical landscape of sustainable cities with the informational landscape of smart cities at the technical level, as well as to merge the two strategies on several scales, all in the context of sustainability. This chapter is concerned with Step 3 of the backcasting approach being used to achieve the overall aim of the futures study. In this respect, it aims to report the outcome of Step 3 by answering 6 guiding questions. Visionary images of a long-term future can stimulate an accelerated movement toward achieving the long-term goals of sustainability. The proposed model is believed to be the first of its kind and thus has not been, to the best of one’s knowledge, produced, nor is it being currently investigated, elsewhere.


Smart sustainable cities Sustainable cities Smart cities Data-driven cities Compact cities Eco-cities Big data technology Urban planning and design Backcasting Future vision Futures study 


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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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