Sustainable, Smart, and Data-Driven Approaches to Urbanism and their Integrative Aspects: A Qualitative Analysis of Long-Lasting Trends

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


Smart sustainable/sustainable smart cities, a defining context for ICT for sustainability, have recently become the leading global paradigm of urbanism. With this position, they are increasingly gaining traction and prevalence worldwide as a promising response to the mounting challenges of sustainability and the potential effects of urbanization. In the meantime, the research in this area is garnering growing attention and rapidly burgeoning, and its status is consolidating as one of the most enticing areas of investigation today. A large part of research in this area focuses on exploiting the potentials and opportunities of advanced technologies and their novel applications, especially big data computing, 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. In this context, one of the most appealing strands of research in the domain of smart sustainable urbanism is that which is concerned with futures studies related to the planning and development of new models for smart sustainable cities. Not only in the futures studies using a backcasting approach to strategic planning and development, but also in those using other approaches, is trend analysis a necessary step to perform and a critical input to the scenario analysis as part of such studies. With that in regard, this chapter aims to provide a detailed qualitative analysis of the key forms of trends shaping and driving the emergence, materialization, and evolvement of the phenomenon of smart sustainable cities as a leading paradigm of urbanism, as well as to identify the relevant expected developments related to smart sustainable urbanism. It is more likely that these forms of trends reflect a congeries of long-lasting forces behind the continuation of smart sustainable cities as a set of multiple approaches to, and multiple pathways to achieving, smart sustainable urban development. As part of the futures studies related to smart sustainable city planning and development using a backcasting methodology, both the trends and expected developments are key ingredients of, and crucial inputs for, analyzing different alternative scenarios for the future or long-term visions pertaining to desirable sustainable futures in terms of their opportunities, potentials, environmental and social benefits, and other effects. This study serves to provide a necessary material for scholars, researchers, and academics, as well as other futurists, who are in the process of conducting, or planning to carry out, futures research projects or scholarly backcasting endeavors related to the field of smart sustainable urbanism.


Smart sustainable/sustainable smart cities Sustainable cities Smart cities Smarter cities Big data computing Sustainability Sustainable development Trends Futures studies Backcasting 


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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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