This Special Issue begins with a middle-range theory of sustainable smart city transitions, which forms bridges between theorizing in smart city development studies and some of the foundational assumptions underpinning transition management and system innovation research, human geography, spatial planning, and critical urban scholarship. This interdisciplinary theoretical formulation details our evidence-based interpretation of how smart city transitions should be conceptualized and enacted in order to overcome the oversimplification fallacy resulting from corporate discourses on smart urbanism. By offering a broad and realistic understanding of smart city transitions, the proposed theory combines different smart-city-related concepts in a model which attempts to expose what causal mechanisms surface in sustainable smart city transitions and to guide empirical inquiry in smart city research. Together with all the authors contributing to this Special Issue, our objective is to give smart city research more robust scientific foundations and to generate theoretical propositions upon which subsequent large-scale empirical testing can be conducted. With the proposed middle-range theory, different empirical settings can be investigated by using the same analytical elements, facilitating the cross-case analysis and synthesis of the systematic research efforts which are progressively contributing to shedding light on the assemblage of sustainable smart city transitions.

middle-range theory, smart city transitions, sustainable urban development, theoretical model, urban innovation,
Journal of Urban Technology
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

Mora, L. (Luca), Deakin, M. (Mark), Zhang, X, Batty, M. (Michael), de Jong, M. (Martin), Santi, P. (Paolo), & Appio, F.P. (Francesco Paolo). (2020). Assembling Sustainable Smart City Transitions: An Interdisciplinary Theoretical Perspective. Journal of Urban Technology. doi:10.1080/10630732.2020.1834831