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(D)evolving smartness – Exploring the changing modalities of smart city making in Africa


Year published: 2021
Categories: Research Article
URL Link: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02723638.2023.2213035?journalCode=rurb20

Author / Authors:

  • Luke Boyle,
  • John Harlow,
  • Lauren Withycombe Keeler


The research paper uncovers an overlooked approach to smart city development in Africa, which involves the implementation of ICT-driven innovations by municipal authorities. This approach differs from the conventional perception that African smart city initiatives are primarily driven by national-level planning and the establishment of new cities. Through an extensive examination of the City of Cape Town's Digital City Strategy, the paper sheds light on the mechanisms and processes that underpin the adoption of smart city concepts by African municipalities. By placing Africa's municipal strategies for ICT implementation within the broader context of global discussions on smart urbanism and local decentralised governance reforms, this study reveals the convergence of global and local influences that shape ICT-inspired urban development in Cape Town. However, it also highlights that these initiatives often prioritise market-oriented principles of urban governance, neglecting transformative and contextually sensitive ICT deployments. By emphasising the multi-faceted nature of smart city production influenced by both global discourse and local dynamics, the findings of this research provide valuable insights into the political realities of municipal ICT deployments in Africa.

Abstract based on source.


  • Research Article