For citation: 

Karagulyan, E. A., Zakharova, O. V., Batyreva, M. V., & Dusseault, D. L. (2020). Smart City — Prosperity for All? Zhurnal Economicheskoj Teorii [Russian Journal of Economic Theory], 17 (3), 657-678.


In recent years, urban authorities have striven to declare their readiness to implement the popular concept of smart city, expecting that it will provide solutions to cities’ most pressing social, economic and ecological problems. However, in the absence of a universal definition of a smart city and its constitutive elements, it is problematic to build a coherent urban development policy or conduct a meaningful discussion. Moreover, foreign researchers increasingly criticize the implementation of the smart city concept, which should be taken into account by Russian experts and policy-makers. This article is based on content analysis of articles and books dealing with the concept of smart city. We trace the evolution of the smart city concept in research literature and identify three main groups of studies. The characteristics of the smart city highlighted within each of these three approaches underlie the principles of smart city creation, which are often subject to criticism in the academic world and in the public sphere. The conclusion is made that although the success of smart city projects depends on many factors, more emphasis needs to be placed on citizens’ involvement into the discussion of the concept itself and city management plans. The theoretical significance of this study resides in the fact that it seeks to systematize the research on smart city while on a practical level, our research findings can be used for improvement of the legislation and state programs for urban development in Russia.

Egine Araratovna Karagulyan — PhD in Economics, Associate Professor, Department of Economics and Finance, Institute of Finance and Economics, University of Tyumen (Tyumen, Russian Federation; e-mail:

Olga Vladimirovna Zakharova — Candidate of Philosophy, Associate Professor, Department of State and Municipal Administration, Institute of State and Law, University of Tyumen (Tyumen, Russian Federation; e-mail: o.v.zakharova@

Maria Vladimirovna Batyreva — Candidate of Sciences in Sociology, Associate Professor, Department of General and Economic Sociology, Institute of Finance and Economics, University of Tyumen (Tyumen, Russian Federation; e-mail:

David Luis Dusseault — PhD, Professor, School of Advanced Studies, University of Tyumen (Tyumen, Russian Federation; e-mail: