Urban Commons in the Techno-Economic Paradigm Shift: An ICT-Enabled Climate-Resilient Solutions Review

In Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
Peer-reviewed Article
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The commons concept has evolved in multiple ways after the publication of Ostrom’s seminal work in 1990, which emphasized the evolution of resource management institutions and the usefulness of self-governance. As we move into the 21st century, one of the institutional transformations is catalyzed by the emergence of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a techno-economic paradigm shift and the epochal creation of a new online social structure. However, there is a lack of understanding about the impact of ICT on common resource management, particularly in urban settings, that is urban commons. This study presents a systematic literature review of ICT-enabled urban commons with particular attention to its application to climate-related issues such as climate mitigation/adaptation in order to improve our collective ability to leverage ICT for building a more sustainable and resilient city. A total of 66 pieces of literature were included in our qualitative synthesis. We analyzed the geographical, categorical, and climate relevance. Subsequently, we used the coupled infrastructure system framework as a system thinking approach to dissect distinct usefulness of ICT-enabled commons in the building of relationships between resource system, resource user, infrastructure, and infrastructure provider to tackle climate-related issues. Our findings identified three key contributions of ICT to innovate climate-resilient solutions: 1) to redefine role of resource user as co-producer, co-designer, and co-monitor; 2) to enable real-time data-driven urban planning; 3) to improve resource efficiency and effectiveness. In other words, in a time of insufficient and limited public resources, the public sector can leverage the power of technology to harness public support and engage non-traditional stakeholders to make cities more sustainable and resilient while allowing policy-making to be big data-driven to tackle new urban problems that cannot be otherwise uncovered without the aid of ICT. The results provide directions to rethink the city based on collective action to diversity modes to govern common resources.