Conceptual, Theoretical, Disciplinary, and Discursive Foundations: A Multidimensional Framework

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


In the subject of smart sustainable cities, the underlying theories are a foundation for practice. Moreover, scholarly research in the field of smart sustainable cities operates out of the understanding that advances in the underlying knowledge necessitate pursuing multifaceted questions that can only be resolved from the vantage point of interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity. Indeed, research problems in this field are inherently too complex to be addressed by single disciplines. In addition, since the area of smart sustainable cities is not a specific direction of research, it does not have a unitary framework in terms of a uniform set of concepts and theories. Indeed, it represents multiple, diverse research directions and thus various inquiry approaches, including theoretical, applied theoretical, exploratory, empirical, and futuristic. These may be analytically quite diverse. The approach to this scholarly endeavor is of an applied theoretical kind, and its aim is to investigate and analyze how to assess, advance, and sustain the contribution of sustainable urban forms to the goals of sustainable development with support of ICT of pervasive computing under what is labeled “smart sustainable cities of the future.” This involves the application of a set of integrative foundational elements drawn from urban planning, urban design, sustainability, sustainable development, sustainability science, data science, computer science, complexity science, and ICT. Accordingly, it is deemed of high significance to devise a multidimensional framework consisting of relevant concepts, theories, and academic disciplines and discourses that underpin the development of smart sustainable cities as a set of future practices. This framework in turn emphasizes the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary nature and orientation of the topic of smart sustainable cities and thus the relevance of pursuing an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach into studying this topic. Therefore, this chapter endeavors to systematize the very complex and dense scientific area of smart sustainable cities in terms of identifying, distilling, and structuring the core dimensions of a foundational framework for smart sustainable city development as a set of future practices. In doing so, it focuses on a number of fundamental concepts and theories along with academic disciplines and discourses, with the aim of setting a framework that analytically relates city development, sustainability, and ICT, while emphasizing how and to what extent sustainability and ICT have particularly become influential in city development in modern society. This chapter provides an important lens through which to understand a set of influential theories and established academic disciplines and discourses with high integration, fusion, and applicability potential in relation to the practice of smart sustainable city development.


Smart sustainable cities Theory Discipline Discourse Science Interdisciplinarity Transdisciplinarity Sustainability Sustainable development Computing ICT 


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© 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

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