Cristina Napoli

The smart city between European ambitions and Italian gaps: The challenge of urban sustainability

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The essay moves from a qualification of the smart city as a «responsible answer» to the issues of contemporary urbanism, in terms of employment, basic services, housing needs, physical spaces where to promote the development of the human person, of mobility and energy systems. In this context, the essay explores the stages of the European level. The European Union, in fact, without any express and specific competence in urban matters, has undertaken numerous actions which – although acting on a purely intergovernmental level and therefore through the adoption of deeds and documents without legally binding effects – inspire an integrated and synergic approach to EU action, functional to the production of indirect effects in urban matters, also through the use and diffusion of ICT. With regard to the national dimension, the Italian legislator has not framed smart cities through the exercise of legislative power in matters of «territorial government». In this sense, the regulatory interventions assisted by «smart» label mostly regarded the use of ICT (and in particular by the public administration) which, instead of being the instrument to achieve the goals of the smart city, ends up to constitute the element around which the smartness of a city in Italy revolves. The perspective of sustainable development, then, seems helpful because regarding to it the Italian legislator doesn’t seem to avoid identifying the actual needs of a society in continuous and rapid evolution and an integrated and synergical approach. The National sustainable development strategy approved by CIPE resolution 22 December 2017, n. 108, with which Italy started the implementation process of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted in New York on September 25, 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and entered into force on January 1, 2016, seems to go in this direction.


  • Smart City
  • Urban Issue
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Urban Sustainability


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