A Strategic Approach to Smart Cities: The Case of Copenhagen

Sirli Gatski & Veronika Galgoczi

Student thesis: Master thesis


As a result of urbanisation, cities are confronted with numerous economic, environmental and social challenges, including overpopulation, resource scarcity, pollution and security issues. In order to solve these problems, new forms of flexible governance are needed. Digitization is offering a lot of potential for recreation realities, reallocation resources and creating new opportunities, whereas a lot of this potential is still unused. In order to cope with urban challenges and to benefit from digital technologies, the concept of smart cities has emerged. The growing number of published articles on smart cities denotes the potential of the concept, whereas many of its aspects are still largely uncovered. The aim of this paper is to uncover gaps in the smart city literature and to propose a strategic framework that would demonstrate the transformation of cities to cohesive smart cities. For that purpose, a thorough conceptual framework is provided to identify the phenomena that have enabled the emergence of smart cities, to cover the concept of smart cities in detail, and to determine when a city can be considered smart. Finally, these theoretical findings provide the basis for the strategic framework. Based on the thorough conceptual framework, a number of most important strategic problems that impede the transformation of cities to smart cities were identified. These included the lack of a clear plan, the focus on technology instead of service provision, the problem of siloed cities, the lack of coordination and political leadership and the tendency to not involve all stakeholders in the smart city development process. Furthermore, based on an exhaustive analysis of existing smart city analysis tools, a comprehensive strategic framework was created in order to analyse how a strategic perspective can help to transform cities to smart cities.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages93
SupervisorsRavi Vatrapu