The “Sustainable” in smart cities: ignoring the importance of urban ecosystems

Mundoli, Seema and Unnikrishnan, Hita and Nagendra, Harini (2017) The “Sustainable” in smart cities: ignoring the importance of urban ecosystems. DECISION, 44 (2). pp. 103-120. ISSN 0304-0941

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This article argues that the smart city model proposed for an urbanising India ignores key elements of environmental sustainability. Urban green spaces in cities are common pool resources (CPRs) or urban commons that provide provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. However, the smart cities model disregards the provisioning services of urban CPRs that are critical for livelihoods and subsistence of urban marginalised groups. By prioritising certain uses, such as recreational, over others the model results in exclusion of urban poor from the commons. The paper highlights the multiple uses of urban commons, with emphasis on the provisioning services that support lives and livelihoods of urban residents. Alienation from CPRs, both by denying physical access and by erosion of cultural links, is also highlighted as a major concern. We urge a systematic reconceptualisation of urban sustainability, and towards a multi-faceted use-value of urban ecosystems, to develop both ecologically and socio-culturally smart cities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Smart cities, Urban commons, Ecosystem services, Exclusion Sustainability
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Life sciences; biology > Ecology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Development
Depositing User: Library APU
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2018 10:55
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2018 03:31
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