Cover Image

Towards Intelligently - Sustainable Cities?

Luca Salvati, Vittorio Gargiulo Morelli, Margot Weijnen, Ellen van Bueren, Ivo Wenzler, Marke De Reuver


In the quest for achieving sustainable cities, Intelligent and Knowledge City Programmes (ICPs and KCPs) represent cost-efficient strategies for improving the overall performance of urban systems. However, even though nobody argues on the desirability of making cities “smarter”, the fundamental questions of how and to what extent can ICPs and KCPs contribute to the achievement of urban sustainability lack a precise answer. In the attempt of providing a structured answer to these interrogatives, this paper presents a methodology developed for investigating the modalities through which ICPs and KCPs contribute to the achievement or urban sustainability. Results suggest that ICPs and KCPs efficacy lies in supporting cities achieve a sustainable urban metabolism through optimization, innovation and behavior changes.


Sustainable urban metabolism, Smart city, Assessment criteria, Regional Planning.

Full Text:



Alusi, A., Eccles, R. G., Edmondson, A. C., & Zuzul, T. (2011). “Sustainable Cities: Oxymoron or the Shape of the Future?” (Working Paper 11-062), Harvard Business School – Boston.

Angel, S., Parent, J., Civco, D.L., Blei, A., Potere, D. (2011). “The dimensions of global urban expansion: Estimates and projections for all countries, 2000 – 2050”, Progress in Planning, 75: 53-107.

Becker, J. (2004). “Making Sustainable Development Evaluations Work”, Sustainable Development, Vol. 12: 200-211.

Berke, P. R. (2002). “Does Sustainable Development Offer a New Direction for Planning? Challenges for the Twenty-First Century”, Journal of Planning Literature, Vol. 17: 21-36.

Bossel, H. (1999). Indicators for Sustainable Development: Theory, Method, Applications. A Report for the Balaton Group. Winninpeg, International Institute for Sustainable Development - Manitoba (Canada).

Brugmann, J. (1997). “Is There a Method in Our Measurement? The Use of Indicators in Local Sustainable Development Planning”, Local Environment, Vol. 2, n. 1, 59-72.

Cohen, B. (2006). “Urbanization in Developing Countries: Current Trends, Future Projections, and Key Challenges for Sustainability”, Technology and Society, Vol. 28: 63-80.

Cooper, R., Evans, G., & Boyko, C. (2009). Designing Sustainable Cities, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd - Oxford.

Craglia, M., Leontidou, L., Nuvolati, G., Schweikart, J. (2004). “Towards the development of quality of life indicators in the 'digital' city”, Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, Vol. 31, n. 1: 51-64.

Dixon, J., & Fallon, L. A. (1989). The concept of sustainability: origins, extensions and usefulness for policy, World Bank, Environment Division Working Paper No. 1 - Washington.

Deakin, M., & Al Waer, H. (2011). “From Intelligent to Smart Cities”, Intelligent Buildings International, Vol. 3, n. 3: 140-152.

Dvir, R., & Pasher, E. (2004). “Innovation Engines for Knowledge Cities: An innovation Ecology Perspective”, Journal of Knowledge and Management, Vol. 8, n. 5: 16-27.

Ergazakis, K., Metaxiotis, K., & Psarras, J. (2004). “Towards Knowledge Cities: Conceptual Analysis and Success Stories”, Journal of Knowledge Management, Vol. 8, n. 5: 5-15.

European Commission – Research & Innovation, (2012).

Smart Cities and Communities. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 20th June 2012].

European Smart Cities. (2007, October). Press & Resources:

European Smart Cities. Retrieved May 21, 2012, from

European Smart Cities Web site:

European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign. (1994). Charter of European Cities and Towns: Towards Sustainability, European Commission - Brussels.

Fricker, A. (1998). “Measuring up to sustainability”, Futures, Vol. 30, n. 4: 367–375.

Gaspartos, A., El-Haram, M. & Horner, M. (2009). “The argument against a reductionist approach for measuring sustainable development performance and the need for a methodological pluralism”, Accounting Forum, Vol. 33, n. 3: 245-256.

Guy, S., & Marvin, S. (1999). “Understanding Sustainable Cities: Competing Urban Futures”, European Urban and Regional Studies, Vol. 6: 268-275.

Hajer, M A. (1996). The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process, Oxford University Press - New York.

Harrison, C., Eckman, B., Hamilton, R., Hartswick, P., Kalagnanam, J., Paraszczak, J., et al. (2010). “Foundations for Smarter Cities”, IBM Journal of Research and Development, Vol. 54, n. 4: 1-16.

Haughton, G. (1997). “Developing Sustainable Urban Development Models”, Cities, Vol. 14, n. 4: 189-195.

Hopwood, B., Mellor, M., & O'Brien, G. (2005). “Sustainable Development: Mapping Different Approaches”, Sustainable Development, Vol. 13: 38-52.

Jabareen, Y. R. (2006). “Sustainable Urban Forms: Their Typologies, Models, and Concepts”, Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 26: 38-52.

Kominos, N. (2006). Intelligent Cities: Innovation, Knowledge Systems and Digital Spaces, Spon Press - London.

Lélé, S. M. (1991). “Sustainable Development: A Critical Review”, World Development, Vol. 19, n. 6: 607-621.

Levett, R. (1998). “Sustainability Indicators: Integrating Quality of Life and Environmental Protection”, Journal of Royal Statistical Society, A161: 291-302.

Li, F., Liu, X., Hu, D., Wang, R., Yang, W., Li, D., et al. (2009). “Measurement Indicators and an Evaluation Approach for Assessing Urban Sustainable Development: A Case Study for China's Jining City”, Landscape and Urban Planning, Vol. 90: 134-142.

Mega, V. (1996). “Our City, Our Future: Towards Sustainable Development in European Cities”, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 8, n. 1: 133-154.

Moles. R, Foley, W., Morrissey, J., & O'Regan, B. (2008). “Practical appraisal of sustainable development—Methodologies for Sustainability Measurement at Settlement Level”, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 28, 144-165.

Næs, P. (2001). “Urban Planning and Sustainable Development”, European Planning Studies, Vol. 9, n. 4: 503-524.

Parris, T. M., & Kates, R. W. (2003). “Characterizing and Measuring Sustainable Development”, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 28: 559–586.

Reed, M., Fraser, E. D. G., Morse, S. & Dougill, A. J. (2005). “Integrating Methods for Developing Sustainability Indicators to Facilitate Learning and Action”, Ecology and Society, Vol. 10, n.1: r3.

Robinson, J. (2004). “Squaring the circle? Some thoughts on the idea of sustainable development”, Ecological Economics, Vol. 48: 369-384.

Santinha, G., & Castro, E. A. (2010). “Creating More Intelligent Cities: The Role of ICT in Promoting Territorial Governance”, Journal of Urban Technology, Vol. 17, n. 2: 77-98.

Satterthwaite, D. (1997). “Sustainable Cities or Cities that Contribute to Sustainable Development?”, Urban Studies, Vol. 34: 1667-1691.

Stren, R., White, R., & Whitney, J. (1992). Sustainable Cities. Urbanization and the Environment in International Perspective, Westview Press - Oxford.

Tanguay, G. A., Rajaonson, J., Lefebvre, J. F., & Lanoie, P. (2010). “Measuring the sustainability of cities: An analysis of the use of local indicators”, Ecological Indicators, Vol. 10: 407-418.

United Nations. (2012, June 22). Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Devlopment. Retrieved June 24, 2012, from Un Rio+20 web site:

Wallbaum, H., Krnak, S., & Teloh, R. (2011). “Prioritizing Sustainability Criteria in Urban Planning Processes: Methodology Application”, Journal of Urban Planning and Development, Vol. 137, n. 1: 20-28.



Article Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This site uses cookies to help deliver services. By using this site, you agree to the use of cookies.
More info.

Direttore responsabile: Rocco Papa | print ISSN 1970-9889 | on line ISSN 1970-9870 | © 2008 | Registrazione: Cancelleria del Tribunale di Napoli, n° 6, 29/01/2008 | Rivista realizzata con Open Journal System e pubblicata dal Centro di Ateneo per le Biblioteche dell'Università di Napoli Federico II.