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Table 7 The core institutional practices for supporting the balancing of the three dimensions of sustainability

From: A novel model for data-driven smart sustainable cities of the future: the institutional transformations required for balancing and advancing the three goals of sustainability

Sustainability Institutional Practices and Competences
Environmental Dimension • Make green structure plans that map the city’s green resources by assessing their natural and recreational qualities
• Use green structure plans as a means to enhance and integrate the available knowledge of the green structure and create the opportunity to gain a coherent view of its totality, as well as to focus attention on the city’s merits and shortcomings in regard to green structure preservation
• Introduce balancing principles to compensate for any potential loss of natural and agricultural land with a new or reinforced land (e.g., recreational land), so the final result is more valuable
• Establish a research center for environmental sustainability
• Establish an innovation center for green energy technology
• Transform the innovation center into an international meeting place where the city, the business community, and the research community work collaboratively to profile and demonstrate know–how in green energy technology
• Establish a research and innovation center for zero emission neighbourhoods
• Establish a living lab for zero-emission/net-zero energy buildings as a multipurpose experimental facility to study various technologies and design strategies in a real-world living environment
• Establish a research and innovation center for green, passive, and low energy buildings
• Support green energy technology innovation projects through funding schemes, advocating the adoption of environmentally friendly products and services, organizing symposiums on environmental innovations, encouraging local environmental programs, and devising comprehensive environmental plans
• Create arenas where industry experts, businesses, politicians, and citizens meet to discuss environmental problems and potential solutions
Economic Dimension • Promote regional collaboration to enhance business development
• Make detailed regular plans for business development where the economic goals of sustainability are coupled with the targeted measures. This relates to the balanced scorecard, a strategic management performance metric used to measure and provide feedback to organizations by identifying and improving various internal business functions and their external outcomes
• Make strategic business development plans to guide business and tourism development
• Expand the tourism industry and boost the regional business links
• Use physical planning to adapt the prioritized areas for development to business development
• Create arenas where politicians, business actors, and public servants meet to discuss topical questions and issues
• Support collaboration and networking with business actors to enhance knowledge and information sharing
• Develop higher educational programs that integrate education and research into business development
• Intensify collaboration between businesses, educational institutions, and research centers
• Inspire and stimulate local entrepreneurship by providing financial support and counselling and by organizing contests between, and offering awards to, young entrepreneurs and innovators
• Create various resources to support small and medium-sized enterprises
• Establish a research center for innovation, entrepreneurship, and learning
• Create R&D projects in light of new city development projects in the medium and long term based on partnerships between government, academia, and industry
• Transform new successful sustainable urban development projects into sites that attract new investments, ventures, study visits, further development initiatives, and international interests
• Ensure collaboration on and alignment with a shared vision of sustainability among companies, organizations, and institutions with different interests and goals
Social Dimension • Make public health plans
• Develop procedures that secure a linkage between urban planning and public health goals through initiatives to provide access to green and recreational areas, as well as arrangements to improve cycling and walking, thereby enhancing the opportunity to engage people in physical activity
• Ensure that the social sustainability plan plays a prominent role in local policy-making, and constitutes the basis for political debate where solutions to the challenges and issues addressed are sought
• Ensure that plans rest on statistics, indicators, and qualitative data as the basis of knowledge for political decisions
• Make plans on the basis of the areas for improvement identified, and discuss and monitor them on an annual basis. The monitoring to be employed should include a number of issues, such as the number of newly built dwellings, the assortment of dwellings, the affordability of housing, the safety of public spaces, the ability to enhance the quality of life in the city’s socio-economically weak and vulnerable areas, the ability to improve the air quality and reduce the noise level, the protection of green and natural areas, and so on
• Develop strategic guidelines for social justice, social inclusion, social cohesion, and social capital so that they can be converted into concrete projects and programs
• Establish a research and innovation center for social sustainability
• Establish a research and innovation center for the IoT and people to study how the citizenry can get the most out of the IoT as a socially disruptive technology with respect to transportation, accessibility, energy, home automation, living, health, learning, and so on in terms of services
• Establish a research center for ICT for sustainability aiming to contribute to changes in social institutions, social behaviors, social relations, and social perceptions in a sustainable direction
• Establish a research center for sustainable development to contribute to the development of a sustainable society. This contribution includes the shift towards sustainable technical and social systems that meet human needs, such as food, housing, transportation, communication, and recreation
• Create a participatory democracy platform that allows citizens to see and discuss proposals put forward by the city government, and submit their own. Such platform is used to create the city’s government agenda, with proposals coming directly from the participating citizens
• Create a city council that allows the provision of services by public agencies remotely and mobile kiosks, where one can receive various certificates, publish a complaint, get necessary information, and so on. This is to improve the convenience of public services received by citizens
• Support and strengthen the technologies that ensure widespread citizen participation by security measures and privacy mechanisms. These should be at the core of the city policy and governance practices associated with the design, development, and implementation of interactive platforms.
• Develop and implement advanced technologies that offer the prospect of ending the digital divide, provided that they do not open up other kinds of divides. It is important to explore how new forms of regulation at the level of urban planning, transport planning, economic development, and community development can be improved using future and emerging technologies
• Establish a number of digital literacy programs and investigate the reasons behind the digital exclusion of minorities and vulnerable groups, with the overall aim of having everyone online, or with the aspiration to be online by 2050.
• Develop and implement a unified medical information and analytical system, combining such services as communication center, electronic registry, electronic health record, electronic prescription, disability certificates, laboratory services, and personalized accounts.
• Establish center for social innovation and entrepreneurship to create knowledge and ideas for environmental and social change that will be of relevance to the challenges that the city faces through research, education, and experiential learning. This is important to strengthen the capacity of individuals and organizations to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.