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Island smart eco-cities: Innovation, secessionary enclaves, and the selling of sustainability

Grydehøj, A; Kelman, I; (2016) Island smart eco-cities: Innovation, secessionary enclaves, and the selling of sustainability. Urban Island Studies , 2 pp. 1-24. 10.20958/uis.2016.1. Green open access

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Abstract

Governments and developers around the globe are exploiting the benefits of island spatiality to sell urban sustainability. Many new-build smart cities, eco-cities, and sustainable cities (‘smart eco-cities’) are constructed on small islands or otherwise bounded from surrounding urban space. Island spatiality presents benefits for selling smart eco-cities as role models of sustainable innovation: ease of creating value, ease of measuring sustainability, and ease of communicating success. These benefits, however, are all largely illusory, contributing primarily to the appearance of sustainability for the sake of economic profit. The great innovation of island smart-cities is frequently an innovation in the selling of sustainability. By monetising the environment through ecosystem services, incentivising largely symbolic ‘green’ projects and architecture, drawing attention away from unsustainable practices elsewhere, and exacerbating social inequality, island smart eco-cities may be making the world less sustainable. They may also be unreproducible by design and lead to a global devaluing of genuinely sustainable but non-iconic urban development. Island smart eco-cities increasingly serve as secessionary enclaves for a global elite, privileging corporate over public interests and spearheading an invidious argument of sustainable development by deregulation.

Type: Article
Title: Island smart eco-cities: Innovation, secessionary enclaves, and the selling of sustainability
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.20958/uis.2016.1
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.20958/uis.2016.1
Language: English
Additional information: © 2016 Adam Grydehøj & Ilan Kelman. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.
Keywords: Eco-cities, innovation, island cities, smart cities, smart eco-cities, secessionary enclaves, sustainable cities
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1532892
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