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Building smart cities, the just way. A critical review of “smart” and “just” initiatives in Bristol, UK

Michalec, Aleksandra (Ola); Hayes, Enda; Longhurst, James


Aleksandra (Ola) Michalec

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Enda Hayes
Professor in Air Quality and Carbon Management


This article investigates the application of the “smart cities” and “urban climate justice” concepts to two urban initiatives based in Bristol, UK. Both ideas are increasingly popular in academic literature. Yet, little is known about their understanding by the practitioners such as policymakers, third sector organisations and citizens. Two case studies, a community-based energy efficiency initiative, and a local authority electric vehicle policy were critically reviewed using discourse analysis. The method helped to reveal the explicit, implied and obscured aims of the examined initiatives. Using discourse analysis, the researchers developed a heuristic which could improve traditional policy analysis approaches. The examination of case studies illustrates how practitioners understand the notions of “urban climate justice” and “smart cities” and whether their conceptualisations differ from those present in the academic literature. Finally, the paper offers methodological suggestions for embedding justice in “smart” initiatives at each stage of policy and project design.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date May 1, 2019
Journal Sustainable Cities and Society
Print ISSN 2210-6707
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
Article Number 101510
APA6 Citation Michalec, A. (., Longhurst, J., & Hayes, E. (2019). Building smart cities, the just way. A critical review of “smart” and “just” initiatives in Bristol, UK. Sustainable Cities and Society, 47,
Keywords smart cities, discourse analysis, Bristol
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is the author's accepted manuscript. The final published version is available here: