Humanity’s success in tackling environmental, economic, and social sustainability challenges directs the path of our future. As smart cities (i.e. cities that incorporate information and communications technology into management strategies to solve problems in public domains) have emerged as solutions to urban sustainability, current knowledge on how this conceptual idea has been deployed at the city level is highly fragmented because it relies on selected cases or surveys with low response rates. So for my fellowship project, I aim to fill in this gap by building a living archive of smart city implementation at the US local level, called “smart city tracker.” I will pull together data from all large and mid-sized cities (population of more than 100,000) in the US.
I will use a new method, which evaluates the textual data on official city websites, to identify local governments’ implementation of smart cities. If a city mentions smart cities on its website, it is very likely to have carried out smart-city-related activities, such as laying out a smart city roadmap, soliciting public feedback on its smart city initiative, or announcing its award-winning smart project. The outcome of my project will be presented as an interactive map pinpointing cities with and without smart city statements. Users will be able to interact with the map by using a time slider and clicking on each city marker to browse and explore local governments’ practices. Users will also be able to download the dataset for further use. I will use Google Custom Search API to search smart city keywords on official city websites. Search results will be organized in csv format and parsed by Omnivore. The map will be built based on Leaflet.
I will update the map periodically, documenting a timeline of implementation, and eventually serves as a living archive of smart city prevalence throughout the US. The goal is to contribute to the baseline knowledge of smart city deployment and potentially reveal spatial disparities existing in urban development regarding the adoption of technologies in municipal governance.