Past, present, future: engagement with sustainable urban development through 35 city labels in the scientific literature 1990-2019

Schraven, D., Joss, S. and De Jong, M. (2021) Past, present, future: engagement with sustainable urban development through 35 city labels in the scientific literature 1990-2019. Journal of Cleaner Production, 292, 125924. (doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.125924)

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SDG11 – ‘making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ – draws attention to the criticality of urban governance in the quest for sustainable development. Reflecting this, diverse city labels, such as ‘sustainable city’ and ‘smart city’, have been mobilized by urban actors and scholars to consider cities’ responses to various challenges of urban transformation. Consequently, this study interrogates: (1) the growing use of city labels in the scientific literature over three decades; (2) the conceptual dimensions of individual city labels and their mutual interdependencies; and (3) likely future trajectories. This is accomplished through a comprehensive bibliometric analysis of 35 city labels: we examine their (co-)occurrences during 1990-2019 based on 11337 articles harvested in Scopus; analyse their conceptual associations drawing on a corpus of 22280 author keywords; and make a future forecast based on logistic growth modelling. The findings significantly take forward recent bibliometric research by demonstrating: the rapid growth in scientific outputs; the diversification of city labels beyond ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’; and the evolution of an intricate conceptual field made up of different constellations of city labels. Beyond the contribution to scholarly discourse, the findings have implications for urban policy and practice: regarding ongoing concerns about how to achieve synergies, rather than trade-offs, between SDGs, the conceptual field points to possible ways for relating SDG11 to other dimensions of sustainable development. More broadly, the clarification of individual city labels’ conceptual underpinnings should help policymakers and practitioners make considered choices when mobilizing city labels in support of urban transformation efforts.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Smart city, Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, bibliometrics, urban development, urban policy.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Joss, Professor Simon
Authors: Schraven, D., Joss, S., and De Jong, M.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Research Group:Urban Big Data Centre
Journal Name:Journal of Cleaner Production
Journal Abbr.:JCLP
ISSN (Online):1879-1786
Published Online:13 January 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Ltd.
First Published:First published in Journal of Cleaner Production 292: 125924
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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