Local Government and Technological Innovation: Lessons from a Case Study of “Yokohama Smart City Project”

  • Aki SuwaEmail author
Part of the Advances in 21st Century Human Settlements book series (ACHS)


Currently, most climate policies focus on the international and national level efforts. The international and national levels may set a strategic orientation, but the real effect of the strategies would be made through local actions. Cities and municipalities are the core of actions to cope with global and local environmental problems. In response to these problems, the cities are increasingly taking a strategic approach to climate changes to implementing overarching and systemic changes, by redesigning and reconfiguring the infrastructure networks through which energy is produced and consumed. Primarily, innovative technology, including those associated with smart city and smart-grid, force the local government to reconsider the different levels of technical capacities between them and industries. This study focuses on Yokohama city as a case to illustrate an ambitious energy technology innovation programme at the city-wide scale. It can fill the research gap of elaborating the Asian example of public-private sector cooperation, whether and how the allocate resources and expertise to deliver and experiment smart city as a green tech innovation.


Smart city Local government Technological innovation 



The authors are grateful to United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, especially Dr. Csaba Putzai, to assist research, and Dr. Haruka Okada from University of Australia for her help on this work. Dr. Andrew Blok from University of Copenhagen, last but not least, is highly appreciated for his professional suggestions and comments.


  1. 1.
    Joss S (2015) Eco-cities and sustainable urbanism. In: Wright James D (ed) International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences, vol 6, 2nd edn. Oxford Elsevier, pp 829–837Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dutton WH, Blumer JG, Kraemer KL (1987) Wired cities: shaping the future of communications. Annenberg School of Communications, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Caragliu A, Bo CD, Nijkamp P (2011) Smart cities in Europe. J Urban Technol 18(0048):65–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    European Commission (2009) A technology roadmap for the communication on investing in the development of law carbon technologies (SET-Plan). Available from
  5. 5.
    Fukuchi M (2011) Status of domestic/overseas smart cities. Knowl Creat Integr 19(5):6–19 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    ANRE (Agency for Natural Resources and Energy) (2014) ANRE’s initiatives for establishing smart communities policy planning division,
  7. 7.
    NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Department Organization) (2010) Renewable energy technology Hodpaper,
  8. 8.
    Mah DN, Van der Vleuten MJ, Ip JCM, Hills PR (2012) Governing the transition of socio-technical systems: a case study of the development of smart grids in Korea. Energy Policy 45:133–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bulkeley H (2010) Cities and the governing of climate change. Annu Rev Environ Resour 35:229–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hodson M, Marvin S (2009) ‘Urban ecological security’: a new urban paradigm? Int J Urban Reg Res 33(1):193–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    OECD (2012) Green technology and innovation: OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2012.
  12. 12.
    Bulkeley H, Broto C (2013) Government by experiment? Global cities and the governing of climate change. Trans Inst Br Geogr 38(3):361–375CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Saavedra C, Budd WW (2009) Climate change and environmental planning: working to build community resilience and adaptive capacity in Washington State, USA. Habitat Int 33:33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Balaban O, Puppim de Oliveira JA (2014) Understanding the links between urban regeneration and climate-friendly urban development: lessons from two case studies in Japan. Local Environ 19(8):868–890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jonas A, Ward K (2007) Introduction to a debate on city-regions: new geographies of governance, democracy and social reproduction. Int J Urban Reg Res.
  16. 16.
    Evans J, Karvonen A (2014) ‘Give me a laboratory and I will lower your carbon footprint!’—urban laboratories and the governance of low-carbon futures. Int J Urban Reg Res 38(2):413–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Alawadhi S, Aldama-Nalda A, Chourabi H, Gil-Garcia RJ, Leung S, Mellouli S, Nam T, Pardo TA, Scholl HJ, Walker S (2012) Building understanding of smart city initiatives. In: Scholl HJ, Janssen M, Wimmer MA, Moe CE, Flak LS (eds) Electronic government. EGOV 2012. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 7443. Springer, Berlin.
  18. 18.
    Albino V, Berardi U, Dangelico RM (2015) Smart cities: definitions, dimensions, performance, and initiatives. J Urban Technol 22(1):3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ling APA, Kokichi S, Masao M (2012) The Japanese smart grid initiatives, investments and collaborations. Int J Adv Comput Sci Appl 3(7):1–11Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Markham SK, Ward SJ, Aiman-Smith L, Kingon AI (2010) The valley of death as context for role theory in product innovation. J Prod Innov Manag 27(3):402–417CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (2010) Population Trends in Japan,
  22. 22.
    Cabinet Office of Japan, Environmental Future City Initiative,
  23. 23.
    Onishi T, Kobayashi H (2011) Low-carbon cities: the future of urban planning. Gakugei-Shuppan, KyotoGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau (2013) Yokohama Visitors’ Guide, viewed 28 May 2013,
  25. 25.
    Yokohama City Government (2011) Global warming measures implementation plan,
  26. 26.
    Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) (2010) Yokohama Smart City Project Master Plan,
  27. 27.
    Yokohama City Government (2015) Yokohama Smart City Project (YSCP) General Meeting Final Report,
  28. 28.
    Yoda T, Tanaka M, Itoh K (2017) Smart grid economics. Yuhikaku, Japan (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Port RE (2015) Daikyo developed a condominium in Kamio-oka, Yokohama,

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Contemporary SocietyKyoto Women’s UniversityHigashiyama, KyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations