How different can smart cities be? A typology of smart cities in China

Jialong Zhu*, Alberto Gianoli, Negar Noori, Martin de Jong, Jurian Edelenbos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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China, renowned for being one of the world's largest smart city testing fields, has witnessed the emergence of numerous smart cities. Existing publications highlight the diversity in smart city development, wherein cities with different contexts and institutional factors exhibit distinct characteristics. To delve deeper into this subject, we employed a mixed methods approach to classify 49 Chinese smart cities and subsequently developed a typology for Chinese smart cities in this study. Our methodology involved three steps. Initially, we devised a classification framework based on the input-throughput-output model and conducted content analysis to identify the characteristics of the 49 cities. Subsequently, we utilized a combination of principal component analysis (PCA) and K-means clustering analysis to categorize these cases. Finally, we formulated a typology consisting of five types of Chinese smart cities: knowledge-technocratic smart cities, holistic smart cities, green smart cities, equipment-technocratic smart cities, and emerging smart cities. The findings reveal that different smart city types are characterized by distinct features and priorities in input, throughput, and output. The development of smart cities should comprehensively consider and respect the local urban contexts and the challenges they present. The insights from this study hold relevance for both policymakers and academic researchers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104992
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Erasmus Initiative for the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity and Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

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