(D)evolving smartness: exploring the changing modalities of smart city making in Africa

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1 Scopus citations


The paper identifies an under-researched mode of smart city-making in Africa characterized by municipal deployments of ICT-driven innovations. This departs from typical framings that view African smart city development as nationally driven, master planned new city developments. An in-depth analysis of the City of Cape Town’s Digital City Strategy provides insights into the mechanisms and processes grounding smart city concepts in African municipalities. Thus, situating Africa’s municipal ICT-driven strategies in the context of a global discourse of smart urbanism and local (and continental) processes of decentralized governance reform. In Cape Town, these global and local forces converge to drive ICT-inspired urbanism that reinforce market-oriented logics of urban governance, largely at the expense of transformative and contextually sensitive ICT deployments. By highlighting the multi-scalar production of smart cities inspired by global discourse yet subjected to local dynamics, the findings offer insights into the political realities of municipal ICT deployments in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUrban Geography
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • ICT-driven urbanism
  • Smart city development
  • decentralization
  • municipal governance reform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies


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