Urban Governance and Social Innovation

Cities and digitalization

how digitalization changes cities - innovation for the urban economy of tomorrow


In this short paper, we give an overview on how this major trend is unfolding and, specifically, how it affects cities. We take the following starting points: - Digitalization is a strong force that “happens” everywhere in the (urban) society. It has positive and negative effects – explored later in this paper –, which might be promoted or redressed by collective action or government intervention. Rejecting or denying it may come at high costs; - Digital technologies offer new tools and answers to address urban issues; - Digital technologies and their adoption bring a lot of new and unpredictable challenges; - Digital technologies raise several new ethical questions and dilemma’s regarding privacy, safety and security; - As in any other major societal transition, legal and institutional systems are not prepared for the digital age. Reality is always ahead of new regulation, resulting in constantly moving “grey areas” where it is unclear which rules (should) apply – think of how to deal with services like AirBnB or Uber.

Reference van Winden, W., & de Carvalho, L. (2017). Cities and digitalization: how digitalization changes cities - innovation for the urban economy of tomorrow. 1-24.
Published by  CAREM 1 November 2017

Publication date

Nov 2017


Luís de Carvalho


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