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The Four-Foci Taxonomy for Smart City Design: Towards a Conceptual Framework
1  Lawrence Technological University

Abstract: Complex socio-political, economic, and environmental challenges have increased the demand for more effective data management and information access. The notion of a smart city has recently evolved to mean a city that is well-endowed by information and communication technologies that complement the physical infrastructure, enhancing the city’s social and environmental assets. A city may be defined as “smart” or “intelligent” when investments in human capital, social capital, transportation, and communication infrastructure drive sustainable physical and economic development. Through participatory governance, managed growth should result in a high quality of life and wise natural resource management. Several models for designing a smart city exist, and after analyzing various studies, these models were grouped according to their foci: (1) technological, (2) business, (3) political, and (4) environmental. While the proposed models each have strengths, each model shares four key limitations: (1) limited integration of the local system and global system, (2) scant attention to holistic sustainability, (3) minimal consideration of human factors and human-environment interaction, and (4) inability to address significant urban changes. Takeda’s (1990) four-phase research approach was adopted for this research project, the four phases being Phase I (Awareness), Phase II (Suggestion), Phase III (Development), and Phase IV (Evaluation). The research was conducted in several studies. This paper reports on Study 1, which followed a two-phase exploratory and conceptual approach (Phases I & II), in which an in-depth analysis of several smart city case studies reported in the literature was performed. The purpose was to examine promising smart city models, and critique their effectiveness. Using a literature review, the authors solidified their understanding of smart city design. A taxonomy of key categories of concern when designing a smart city, called the Four-Foci Taxonomy, is proposed in the paper.
Keywords: smart city, conceptual framework, participatory governance, holistic sustainability, human-environment interaction, human factors, shrinking cities, taxonomy