Advertisement

Approaches to Futures Studies: A Scholarly and Planning Approach to Strategic Smart Sustainable City Development

  • Simon Elias BibriEmail author
Chapter
Part of the The Urban Book Series book series (UBS)

Abstract

Backcasting as a scholarly and planning approach is increasingly used in futures studies in fields related to urban sustainability as an alternative to traditional planning approaches and a formal element of future strategic initiatives. It is viewed as a natural step in operationalizing sustainable development within different societal spheres. As a holistic urban development strategy, smart sustainable cities represent a manifestation of sustainable development as a process of change and a strategic approach to achieving the long-term goals of sustainability. Achieving smart sustainable cities represents an instance of urban sustainability, a concept that refers to a desired state in which a city strives to retain the balance of socio-ecological system through sustainable development as a desired trajectory. This long-term goal requires fostering linkages between scientific and social research, technological innovations, institutional practices, and policy design and planning in relevance to urban sustainability. It also requires a long-term vision, a transdisciplinary approach, and a system-oriented perspective on addressing environmental, economic, and social issues. These requirements are at the core of backcasting as an approach to futures studies. As there are a number of backcasting approaches used in different domains, and the backcasting framework is adaptive and contextual in nature, it is deemed highly relevant and useful to devise a scholarly and planning approach to strategic smart sustainable city development. This chapter has a fourfold purpose. It aims to (1) provide a comparative account of the most commonly applied approaches in futures studies dealing with technology and sustainability (forecasting and backcasting); (2) to review the existing backcasting methodologies and discuss the relevance of their use in terms of their steps and guiding questions in analyzing strategic smart sustainable city development as an area that is at the intersection of city development, sustainable development, and technology development; (3) to synthesize a backcasting approach based on the outcome of the review and discussion, and (4) to examine backcasting as a scholarly methodology and planning approach by looking at its use in the Gothenburg 2050 Project and an ongoing Ph.D. project, as well as to use these cases to illustrate the core and relevance of the synthesized approach. Backcasting is a special kind of scenario methodology to develop future models for smart sustainable city as a planning tool for urban sustainability. Goal-oriented backcasting approaches declare long-range targets that lie quite far in the future. Visionary images of a long-term future can stimulate an accelerated movement toward achieving the goals of urban sustainability. The backcasting approach is found to be well suited for long-term urban sustainability solutions due to its normative, goal-oriented, and problem-solving character. Also, it is particularly useful when: dealing with complex problems and transitions, the current trends are part of the problem, and different directions of development can be allowed given the wide scope and long time horizon considered. A number of recent futures studies using backcasting have underlined the efficacy of this scholarly and planning approach in terms of indicating policy pathway for sustainability transitions and thus supporting policymakers and facilitating and guiding their actions. The synthesized scholarly and planning approach serves to help researchers and scholars in analyzing strategic smart sustainable city development to assist planners, policymakers, and decision-makers in their endeavor to implement smart sustainable cities.

Keywords

Smart sustainable cities Sustainability Sustainable development Backcasting Forecasting Futures studies Strategic planning Strategic smart sustainable city development Scholarly and planning approach 

References

  1. Ahvenniemi H, Huovila A, Pinto-Seppä I, Airaksinen M (2017) What are the differences between sustainable and smart cities? Cities 60:234–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akerman J, Höjer M (2006) How much transport can the climate stand?—Sweden on a sustainable path in 2050. Energy Policy 34(14):1944–1957CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al Nuaimi E, Al Neyadi H, Nader M, Al-Jaroodi J (2015) Applications of big data to smart cities. J Internet Serv Appl 6(25):1–15Google Scholar
  4. Angelidou M, Psaltoglou A (2017) An empirical investigation of social innovation initiatives for sustainable urban development. Sustain Cities Soc 33:113–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Angelidou M, Psaltoglou A, Komninos N, Kakderi C, Tsarchopoulos P, Panori A (2017) Enhancing sustainable urban development through smart city applications. J Sci Technol Policy Manage 1–25Google Scholar
  6. Banister D (2006) City future transport. Keynote paper for transport planning—a design challenge? In: Conference organised by AMIDST at the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 14–16 June 2006Google Scholar
  7. Banister D, Stead D (2004) The impact of ICT on transport. Transp Rev 24(5):611–632CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Banister D, Stead D, Steen P, Dreborg KH, Akerman J, Nijkamp P et al (2000) European transport policy and sustainable mobility. Spon Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Batty M, Axhausen KW, Giannotti F, Pozdnoukhov A, Bazzani A, Wachowicz M, Ouzounis G, Portugali Y (2012) Smart cities of the future. Eur Phys J 214:481–518Google Scholar
  10. Bettencourt LMA (2014) The uses of big data in cities. Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, New MexicoGoogle Scholar
  11. Bezold C (2000) Knowledge base of futures studies, vols 1–4. Futures studies centre resource pages, the visioning method. Indooroopilly, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  12. Bibri SE (2015a) The human face of ambient intelligence, cognitive, emotional, affective, behavioral, and conversational aspects. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  13. Bibri SE (2015b) The shaping of ambient intelligence and the internet of things: historico-epistemic, socio-cultural, politico-institutional and eco-environmental dimensions. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bibri SE (2018) A foundational framework for smart sustainable city development: theoretical, disciplinary, and discursive dimensions and their synergies. Sustain Cities SocGoogle Scholar
  15. Bibri SE, Krogstie J (2016) On the social shaping dimensions of smart sustainable cities: a study in science, technology, and society. Sustain Cities Soc 29:219–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bibri SE, Krogstie J (2017a) Smart sustainable cities of the future: an extensive interdisciplinary literature review. Sustain Cities Soc 31:183–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bibri SE, Krogstie J (2017b) ICT of the new wave of computing for sustainable urban forms: their big data and context-aware augmented typologies and design concepts. Sustain Cities Soc 32:449–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bibri SE, Krogstie J (2017c) The core enabling technologies of big data analytics and context-aware computing for smart sustainable cities: a review and synthesis. J Big DataGoogle Scholar
  19. Bicchieri C (2005) The grammar of society: the nature and dynamics of social norms. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Bicchieri C (2017) Norms in the wild: how to diagnose, measure, and change social norms. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Bifulco F, Tregua M, Amitrano CC, D’Auria A (2016) ICT and sustainability in smart cities management. Int J Public Sect Manage 29(2):132–147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Borjeson L et al (2006) Scenario types and techniques: towards a user’s guide. Futures 38(2006):723–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Campbell S (1996) Green cities, growing cities, just cities? Urban planning and the contradictions of sustainable development. J Am Plann Assoc 62(3):296–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Carlsson-Kanyama A, Dreborg KH, Eenkhorn BR, Engström R, Falkena B (2003) Image of everyday life in the future sustainable city: experiences of back-casting with stakeholders in five European cities. The Environmental Strategies Research Group (Fms)—report 182, The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, 2003. Report available at/react-text www.infra.kth.sereact-text:563
  25. Carlsson-Kanyama A, Dreborga KH, Mollb HC, Padovan D (2008) Participative backcasting: a tool for involving stakeholders in local sustainability planning. Futures 40(1):34–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Chaminade C, Edquist C (2010) Inside the public scientific system: changing modes of knowledge production. In: Smits R, Shapira P, Kehlmann S (eds) The theory and practice of innovation policy: an international research handbook. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 95–114Google Scholar
  27. Chatterjee K, Gordon A (2006) Planning for an unpredictable future: transport in Great Britain in 2030. Transp Policy 13(2006):254–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Dator J (2004) Visions, values, technologies and schools. In: Aviram A, Richardson J (eds) Upon what does the turtle stand? Rethinking education for the digital age. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 241–250Google Scholar
  29. Dreborg KH (1996) Essence of backcasting. Futures 28(9):813–828CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. European Commission (2011) Cities of tomorrow. Challenges, visions, ways forward. Publications Office of the European Union, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  31. FOREN Network (2001) A practical guide to regional foresight. European Commission, STRATA Programme, BrusselsGoogle Scholar
  32. Foucault M (1972) The archaeology of knowledge. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Green K, Vergragt Ph (2002) Towards sustainable households: a methodology for developing sustainable technological and social innovations. Futures 34:381–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Höjer M (2000) What is the point of IT? Backcasting urban transport and land-use futures. Doctoral dissertation, Department of Infrastructure and Planning, The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  35. Höjer M, Mattsson L-G (2000) Historical determinism and backcasting in futures studies. Futures 2000:613–634CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Höjer M, Wangel S (2015) Smart sustainable cities: definition and challenges. In: Hilty L, Aebischer B (eds) ICT innovations for sustainability. Springer, Berlin, pp 333–349Google Scholar
  37. Holmberg J (1998) Backcasting: a natural step in operationalizing sustainable development. Greener Manage Int (GMI) 23:30–51Google Scholar
  38. Holmberg J, Robèrt KH (2000) Backcasting from non-overlapping sustainability principles: a framework for strategic planning. Int J Sustain Dev World Ecol 74:291–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. ISTAG (2001) Scenarios for ambient intelligence in 2010. Viewed 22 Oct 2009, ftp://cordis.lu/pub/ist/docs/istagscenarios2010.pdf
  40. Jabareen YR (2006) Sustainable urban forms: their typologies, models, and concepts. J Plann Educ Res 26:38–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jacobs J (1961) The death and life of great American cities. Random House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Jansen JLA (1994) Towards a sustainable future, en route with technology. In: The dutch committee for long-term environmental policy (ed) The environment: towards a sustainable future. Kluwer, Dordrecht, pp 497–523Google Scholar
  43. Jansen L (2003) The challenge of sustainable development. J Clean Prod 11:231–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. José R, Rodrigues H, Otero N (2010) Ambient intelligence: beyond the inspiring vision. J Univers Comput Sci 16(12):1480–1499Google Scholar
  45. Kemp R (1997) Environmental policy and technical change: a comparison of the technological impact of policy instruments. Edward Elgar, CheltenhamGoogle Scholar
  46. Kemp R, Rotmans J (2005) The management of the co-evolution of technical, environmental and social systems. In: Weber M, Hemmelskamp J (eds) Towards environmental innovation systems. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  47. Kramers A, Höjer M, Lövehagen N, Wangel J (2014) Smart sustainable cities: exploring ICT solutions for reduced energy use in cities. Environ Model Softw 56:52–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kramers A, Wangel J, Höjer M (2016) Governing the smart sustainable city: the case of the Stockholm Royal Seaport. In: Proceedings of ICT for sustainability 2016, vol 46. Atlantis Press, Amsterdam, pp 99–108Google Scholar
  49. Ling T (2002) Contested health futures. In: Brown N, Rappet B, Webster A (eds) Contested futures: a sociology of prospective techno-science. Ashgate, AldershotGoogle Scholar
  50. Lynch K (1981) A theory of good city form. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  51. Martino JP (2003) A review of selected recent advances in technological forecasting. Technol Forecast Soc Change 70(8):719–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. McHarg IL (1995) Design with nature. Wiley, LondonGoogle Scholar
  53. Meadows D, Wright D (2012) Thinking in systems: a primer. Taylor and Francis, LondonGoogle Scholar
  54. Miola A (2008) Backcasting approach for sustainable mobility. European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and SustainabilityGoogle Scholar
  55. Mumford L (1961) The city in history: its origins, its transformations, and its prospects. Harcourt Brace and World, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  56. Nigel T (2007) Urban planning theory since 1945. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  57. OECD (2002) OECD Guidelines towards environmentally sustainable transport. OECD, ParisGoogle Scholar
  58. Phdungsilp A (2011) Futures studies’ backcasting method used for strategic sustainable city planning. Futures 43(7):707–714CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Quist J (2002) A strategic approach to radical sustainable innovations: stakeholder involvement, visioning, backcasting, learning and engineering education. In: Mulder KF (ed) Proceedings of the first engineering education in sustainable development (EESD) conference. Delft, The Netherlands, pp 626–637Google Scholar
  60. Quist J (2007) Backcasting for a sustainable future: the impact after 10 years. Ph.D. thesis, Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management, Delft University of Technology, Delft, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  61. Quist J (2009) Stakeholder and user involvement in backcasting and how this influences follow-up and spin-off. Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management Delft University of TechnologyGoogle Scholar
  62. Quist J, Vergragt PJ (2006) Past and future of backcasting: the shift to stakeholder participation and proposal for a methodological framework. Futures 38(2006):1027–1045CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Quist J, Knot M, Young W, Green K, Vergragt P (2001) Strategies towards sustainable households using stakeholder workshops and scenarios. Int J Sustain Dev 4:75–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Quist J, Rammelt C, Overschie M, de Werk G (2006) Backcasting for sustainability in engineering education: the case of Delft University of Technology. J Cleaner Prod 14:868–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rånge M, Sandberg M (2015) Windfall gains or eco-innovation? “Green” evolution in the Swedish innovation system. Soc Environ Econ Policy Stud 1–20Google Scholar
  66. Richardson N (1989) Land use and planning and sustainable development in Canada. Canadian Environmental Advisory Council, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  67. Robèrt KH (2000) Tools and concepts for sustainable development, how to they relate to a general framework for sustainable development, and to each other? J Clean Prod 8(2000):243–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Robert KH, Schmidt-Bleek B, Larderel JA, Basile G, Jansen JL, Kuehr R (2002) Strategic sustainable development—selection, design and synergies of applied tools. J Clean Prod 10:197–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Robinson J (1982) Energy backcasting—a proposed method of policy analysis. Energy Policy 12(1982):337–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Robinson J (1990) Futures under glass: a recipe for people who hate to predict. Futures 22(8):820–842CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Robinson J (2003) Future subjunctive: backcasting as social learning. Futures 35:839–856CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Roth A, Kaberger T (2002) Making transport sustainable. J Cleaner Prod 10:361–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Rotmans J et al (2000a) Visions for a sustainable Europe. Futures 32(2000):809–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Rotmans J, van Asselt M, Vellinga P (2000b) Assessment methodologies for urban infrastructure: an integrated planning tool for sustainable cities. Environ Impact Assess Rev 20:265–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Rotmans J, Kemp R, van Asselt M (2001) More evolution than revolution: transition management in public policy. Foresight 3(1)Google Scholar
  76. Smith A (2003) Transforming technological regimes for sustainable development: a role for alternative technology niches? Sci Public Policy 30(2):127–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Taghavi M, Bakhtiyari K, Taghavi H, Olyaee Attar V, Hussain A (2014) Planning for sustainable development in the emerging information societies. J Sci Technol Policy Manage 5(3):178–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Tinker J (1996) From ‘Introduction’ ix–xv. In: Robinson JB et al (eds) Life in 2030: exploring a sustainable future for Canada. University of British Columbia Press, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  79. Tuominent A, Tapio P, Banister D, Jarvi T (2014) Pluralistic backcasting: integrating multiple visions with policy packages for transport climate policy. Futures 60:41–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. United Nations (2015a) Big Data and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Prepared by A. Maaroof. Available at: www.unescap.org/events/call–participants–big–data–and–2030–agendasustainable–development–achieving–development
  81. United Nations (2015b) Habitat III Issue Papers, 21—Smart cities (V2.0), New York, NY. Available at: https://collaboration.worldbank.org/docs/DOC–20778. Accessed 2 May 2017
  82. United Nations (2015c) Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, New York, NY. Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/post2015/transformingourworld
  83. United Nations (2015d) World urbanization prospects. The 2014 revision. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York. http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Publications/Files/WUP2014-Report.pdf. Accessed 22 Jan 2017
  84. Weaver P, Jansen L, van Grootveld G, van Spiegel E, Vergragt P (2000) Sustainable technology development. Greenleaf Publishers, SheffieldGoogle Scholar
  85. Wheeler SM, Beatley T (eds) (2010) The sustainable urban development reader. Routledge, London, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer and Information Science, Department of Urban Design and PlanningNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations