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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2015

ICT practices in smart sustainable cities: In the intersection of technological solutions and practices of everyday life

Rivera, Miriam Borjesson; Eriksson, Elina; Wangel, Josefin


ICT, information and communications technology, has radically transformed our world and is now an inextricable part of what it means to live a normal life as a citizen, at least in high-income countries. This has led to a situation where ICT has become so taken for granted that it has lost its visibility. While this development to a large extent has been driven by business opportunities, there is now also an increasing recognition of ICT as a possible solution to sustainability problems. There are however two major pitfalls of using ICT as a tool for sustainability that need to be addressed for its potentials to be realized. The first pitfall is environmental impacts of ICT, as well as the risk of lock-in effects and an increasing vulnerability. The second pitfall concerns the understanding of ICT as a neutral solution, rather than recognizing that ICT, as all technology, carries implicit values. Taken together, these two pitfalls imply a need for replacing the atomized and techno-biased understandings of ICT with an approach that recognize the larger socio-material, political and economic structure in which ICT is (thought to be) part. With the aim of contributing to such a shift, this paper proposes a practice-oriented perspective in order to explore the potential of ICT to contribute to sustainability, using the smart sustainable city discourse as our example. We define the concept ICT practices and discuss it from an interdisciplinary perspective and in relation to the sustainable smart city. We argue that by using ICT practices as a conceptual starting-point for analysis, both the technological and the socio-cultural components of the smart sustainable city discourse can become elicited, enabling a more explicit analysis of what assumptions this discourse rests on.


Social Practice Theory; ICT practices; Sustainability; Sustainable Smart Cities; HCI; Sustainable practices

Published in

Advances in computer science research
2015, Volume: 22, pages: 317-324
ISBN: 978-94-62520-92-9


29th International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection / 3rd International Conference on ICT for Sustainability, Copenhagen, DENMARK, SEP 07-09, 2015

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
    Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

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