Approaching Smart Cities from a Law and Governance Perspective
Research field: Urban Transformations Towards Sustainability: A Law and Governance Perspective
About 75% of all Europeans live in cities, in 2050 it will be 85%. Around three quarters of the world's energy is consumed in cities and 80% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced in cities. Concepts such as "smart cities" illustrate the high expectations with respect to the problem-solving capacities of cities and their ability to innovate in addressing major global challenges. At the heart of European smart city initiatives are the development and testing of innovative and efficient technological solutions, e.g. in the fields of energy supply or mobility. Accordingly, the research on "smart cities" focuses mainly on technology and technical solutions. However, there is a growing consciousness that the implementation of a smart city agenda is more likely to be successful if it is integrated into a broader strategy of sustainable urban development. In this context, the interconnectedness of different policy areas as well as relevant governance processes require critical reflection. Against this background, this project adds a law and urban governance perspective to the discussion about the cities of the future. It comprises several separate studies that analyse instruments and governance structures for the realization of smart city concepts, especially from a legal perspective. The issues dealt with range from concrete case studies – e.g. concerning the legal framework for the development of new districts as smart city pilot projects – to fundamental questions – e.g. whether and how the law can promote or inhibit flexibility, participation and social learning, and thus resilience. In doing so, the project, on the one hand, answers a wealth of complex legal questions in energy, environmental, engineering and planning law. On the other hand, it reflects the legal and democratic requirements for urban governance, and offers new insights into the function and limits of the law as a tool for the design of urban development processes.
Project Lead: Univ.Prof. Dr. Verena Madner