Smart Communities. Social Innovation at the Service of the Smart Cities

  • Massimiliano Bencardino Department of Political, Social and Communication Sciences, University of Salerno
  • Ilaria Greco Department of of Low, Economic, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Sannio
Keywords: Smart city, Social innovation, Social City and Urban development


Making Cities Smarter is the challenge of the new millennium, even in a context of profound structural crisis like the present one. In fact, there is an urgent need to rethink the models of socio-economic development to make them more consistent with the new social needs, in particular related to the territorial liveability and social inclusion. In the literature produced in recent years and that has stimulated reflections, ideas, research and projects for a smart urban development, a “smart city” is generally meant as a city capable of joining “competitiveness” and “sustainability”, by integrating different dimensions of development (economic, mobility, environment, people, living and governance).  However, the actions have been largely focused on ICTs and their impacts on urban development.This contribution starts from a reflection, already begun by the authors, on the theme of “Smart City” as “Senseable city”, which means that we need to focus the discussion no more on “how cities can be smarter” but on “how intelligent technologies can lead us to rethink the patterns of urban development by making them fair and inclusive, as well as efficient and sustainable”. In this paper, the attention is focused on another aspect that in recent years is becoming increasingly important in terms of the development of smart cities, that is the social innovation, understood as innovative practice with the aim of creating a positive impact for society that is as wide as possible. The direct and indirect impact that the creation of social innovation can exercise in terms of urban development will lead us to talk about different models of Smart Cities as “Social Cities”. Finally, investigating the Italian experience, the article shows how, despite the efforts, the current approaches to the problem are still very far from considering a Smart City as a local system focused on innovation, a system in which the application of new technologies is not random but responds to a strategic project that starts from the bottom, from the real needs of the citizen.


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Author Biographies

Massimiliano Bencardino, Department of Political, Social and Communication Sciences, University of Salerno

Researcher in Economic-political Geography at the Department of Political and Social Science (DSPSC) of University of Salerno. Lecturer in "Political and Economic Geography" and "Geographic Information Systems" at the same, and in "Organization and planning of the Territory" at the University of Sannio. He works in SIGOT laboratory (Geographic Information Systems for the Organization of the Territory), where he occupies himself with research on territorial planning. Ph.D. in Sciences of the Earth and Degree in Environmental and Territorial Engineering. Member of the Doctoral College in "Methods and methodologies of the archaeological, historical and territorial systems research". Member of “Programme Committee” e reviewer for the International Workshop on "Geographical Analysis, Urban Modeling, Spatial Statistics" (GEOG-AN-MOD) from 2011 to now, reviewer for “INPUT 2012” and for other several national and international conferences. His scientific interests are, up to now, directed towards the definition, the study and the classification of urban and territorial systems and the assessment of environmental risks, to their analysis and representation using innovative instruments (remote sensing and GIS) with the aim of defining sustainable development policies. From the point of view of territorial planning, he considers geostrategic the attention to the environmental problems. His work is finalized to define a balanced relationship between man and nature, economy and territory. He is the author of more than 40 printed books, articles and proceedings.

Ilaria Greco, Department of of Low, Economic, Management and Quantitative Methods, University of Sannio

Researcher in Economic-political Geography at the Department of of Low, Economic, Management and Quantitative Methods of the University of Sannio. Lecturer in “Economic Geography” at the same, and in "Geography" at the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples. Lecturer at the “Advanced Training Course for the Internationalization of Companies - CorCe Campania” at the University of Sannio in partnership with Italian Trade Agengy, the Chamber of Commerce of Benevento, Confindustria Benevento and Lecturer at the University Master's Degree in "Manager in the public administrations”. Ph.D. in Economic-political Geography and Degree in Business economics. Member of the Doctoral College in "Management and Local Development". Scientific Responsible of research activities relating to development of territorial systems and component of a numerous project in the field of spatial and strategic planning. Member of Programme Committees, ad hoc reviewer for several national and international Journal and Track organizer of national and international Conferences. Her research focuses on territorial development, on the different models of organization of economic spaces, on Geography of tourism and on the new paradigms of urban development. With regard to these themes is the author of numerous articles, proceedings and editor and coeditor of several printed books.



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How to Cite
Bencardino, M., & Greco, I. (2014). Smart Communities. Social Innovation at the Service of the Smart Cities. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment.