CULTURAL HERITAGE IN SMART CITY ENVIRONMENTS: THE UPDATE
In 2017 we published a seminal research study in the International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing & Spatial Information Sciences about how smart city tools, solutions and applications underpinned historical and cultural heritage of cities at that time (Angelidou et al. 2017). We now return to investigate the progress that has been made during the past three years, and specifically whether the weak substantiation of cultural heritage in smart city strategies that we observed in 2017 has been improved. The newest literature suggests that smart cities should capitalize on local strengths and give prominence to local culture and traditions and provides a handful of solutions to this end. However, a more thorough examination of what has been actually implemented reveals a (still) rather immature approach. The smart city cases that were selected for the purposes of this research include Tarragona (Spain), Budapest (Hungary) and Karlsruhe (Germany). For each one we collected information regarding the overarching structure of the initiative, the positioning of cultural heritage and the inclusion of heritage-related smart city applications. We then performed a comparative analysis based on a simplified version of the Digital Strategy Canvas. Our findings suggest that a rich cultural heritage and a broader strategic focus on touristic branding and promotion are key ingredients of smart city development in this domain; this is a commonality of all the investigated cities. Moreover, three different strategy architectures emerge, representing the different interplays among the smart city, cultural heritage and sustainable urban development. We conclude that a new generation of smart city initiatives is emerging, in which cultural heritage is of increasing importance. This generation tends to associate cultural heritage with social and cultural values, liveability and sustainable urban development.