Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning for European Cities and Regions
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Knowledge, Policymaking and Learning for European Cities and Regions

From Research to Practice

Edited by Nicola F. Dotti

This book provides theories, experiences, reflections and future directions for social scientists who wish to engage with policy-oriented research in cities and regions. The ‘policy learning’ perspective is comprehensively discussed, focusing on actors promoting ‘policy knowledge’ and interaction among different stakeholders. The book also aims to provide practical insights for policy-makers and practitioners interested in research-based approaches to cities and regions.
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Chapter 15: Smart cities, towards smart governance?

Tassilo Herrschel


‘Smartness’ has become a trendy attribute of a growing number of policies, agendas and phenomena, implying a particular set of qualities and characteristics, or way of doing things. Despite its ubiquity, the term is not, in itself, very clear, stretching from technology-centred managerial efficiency agendas to a focus on cognitive learning processes in policymaking. Yet this terminological fuzziness is also its attraction, because it suggests innovativeness, creativity, novelty, and all those ‘things’ that policymakers like to be associated with. This chapter explores elements of ‘smartness’ in the framing and implementation of city-regional governance. Does ‘smartness’ relate to particular, novel and imaginative ways of doing or organising things? Is it about conflict resolution between competing policy agendas and ‘cultures’, geographic imaginations and practices? Or, alternatively, is it about ‘learning’ as a way of optimising agendas and practices?

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