Cities prioritize their urban innovation ecosystems from their traditional urban character to innovative “green”, “smart”, “open”,” intelligent” and “innovating”, aiming towards environmental and social sustainability. This model uses the generalized term “smart city” to describe all these various smart environment conceptions. Even though this arbitrary generalization is not scientifically accurate, it is rationalized by the high exposure of the term “smart city” as a generic term to describe IT based innovative urban ecosystems. The publicity that the smart city concepts have gained nowadays (with more than two thousand Google meaningful search results) has led to frequent and arbitrary self-declaration of cities as “smart”.
The model demystifies the complexities of smart city conceptions, through the lens of smart city planning, by:
• assembling all conceptions and diverged policies and processes related to smart city planning into an inclusive and holistic smart city reference framework
• identifying processes within the urban innovation ecosystem that compose a smart city’s plan.
Smart city planners could use the reference model to define the conceptual layout of a smart city and describe the urban innovation characteristics for each one of the six city layers. As smart cities come in different shapes and sizes, this reference model should be tailored to local urban innovation character integrating all layers of the model. Smart city planners could formulate a six layer planning agenda based on the local features and priorities of a city. Thus, this conceptual smart city planning could be the founding documentation for a smart city master plan. The reference model as an assembly of various smart city notions can used to evaluate its innovative capacity in identifying complementarities and inconsistencies in smart city master planning. Additionally, the conceptual model could be also utilized to synchronize and optimize city’s investments in green and broadband economies. It also provides a common understanding among smart city stakeholders of investment priorities. The investigation of critical city’s resources that will contribute to its readiness to smart vision is a crucial preliminary planning step. The outcomes of this research could be utilized by smart city planners to prevent unsustainable investments and to build upon the socio-technical complementarities in the smart city course of action.