Analysis of the Smart City Concept: How Does the Smart City Concept Change Practices, and How Do These New Practices Assist in Further Developing the Concept?

Cecilie Thoresen & Rikke Johanne Aubert

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to investigate how the smart city concept is received and enacted and how the concept is changing. The analysis is performed by using critical discourse analysis and is divided into two parts. The first part addresses the understanding of the smart city concept, whereas the second part addresses the enactment of the concept in Copenhagen and Oslo. There is no universal definition of what a smart city is, which is the motivation to investigate the subject.
For the process of investigating the concept, the analytical tool critical discourse analysis is applied. Four analyses are conducted. The first analysis looks into previously performed research and literature to look for common aspects of the smart city concept. The second analyzes the articulation of the concept in the two capital cities, followed by an analysis of social practice, to see what projects are being implemented. The last analysis reviews the projects highlighted in social practice and examines the presence of the three chosen Sustainable Development Goals. The results are then summarized in a matrix.
The outcome of the analyses revealed that the common denominator for smart cities is the focus towards improving the quality of life. Six smart city dimensions were revealed from the literature analysis, which then was affirmed to be present in the social practice in both Copenhagen and Oslo. Quality of life was found to be the most crucial aspect of a smart city. Both cities have citizens as part of the smart city strategy but include them differently. While Copenhagen revolves around the implemented projects around the citizens, Oslo is dedicated to involving the citizens in the decision-making process. The three chosen Sustainable Development Goals shows that Copenhagen focuses more on knowledge sharing and partnerships, while Oslo concentrates on sustainability.
The empirical results from this thesis suggest that the smart city concept is developing with quality of life as the main factor for change and adaptation. Our findings provide useful insights for managers in smart cities that seek to improve smart city collaboration and development.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages147
SupervisorsKarl-Heinz Pogner