Stretching “smart”: advancing health and well-being through the smart city agenda


Contemporary smart cities have largely mirrored the sustainable development agenda by embracing an ecological modernisation approach to urban development. There is a strong focus on stimulating economic activity and environmental protection with little emphasis on social equity and the human experience. The health and well-being agenda has potential to shift the focus of smart cities to centre on social aims. Through the systematic and widespread application of technologies such as wearable health monitors, the creation of open data platforms for health parameters, and the development of virtual communication between patients and health professionals, the smart city can serve as a means to improve the lives of urban residents. In this article, we present a case study of smart health in Kashiwanoha Smart City in Japan. We explore how the pursuit of greater health and well-being has stretched smart city activities beyond technological innovation to directly impact resident lifestyles and become more socially relevant. Smart health strategies examined include a combination of experiments in monitoring and visualisation, education through information provision, and enticement for behavioural change. Findings suggest that smart cities have great potential to be designed and executed to tackle social problems and realise more sustainable, equitable and liveable cities.

Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability, and its publisher Taylor & Francis, have partnered with Pando to feature select article abstracts.  Click here to find links to the full article.

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Gregory Trencher & Andrew Karvonen

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