Azerbaijan's smart cities/villages concepts for Karabagh region. How real and doable to lead to success?
Keywords:Smart cities, smart villages, smart governance, Karabagh, Azerbaijan.
The past few years in Azerbaijan have been marked by growing government interest in using ‘smart’ solutions in urban and rural planning. The results of the Karabakh conflict pushed these aspirations even further, with ‘smart’ technologies being seen as the key instruments in the redevelopment of the de-occupied territories. Since cities are vital mechanisms for economic growth, it is generally believed that applying modern technologies in urban and regional planning can increase the economic performance of a nation while ensuring sustainability. This article will discuss Azerbaijan’s existing experience in ‘smart’ development and examine the extent to which the role of public-private partnership as a tool that can possibly facilitate smart transformation of cities and regions ensuring wider range of prospects for various stakeholders including residents, business actors, authorities, educational institutions, NGOs and so on, as well as create a more sustainable economic and social environment. In the case of Azerbaijan. Special attention is given to the experience of the prominent smart communities in different part of the world, in terms of the applied models of private-public collaboration. The comprehensive SWOT-analysis of the PPP concept in smart cities is conducted based on which the conclusions regarding its collisions and potential are made. Considered on the recent trends in urban development the significance of searching for new approaches to the city governance, in order to cope with the challenges more efficiently and provide advance services for the citizens, is highlighted. The concepts of Smart Cities are viewed as powerful vehicles for fostering urban prosperity. This article also opens a general discussion about the concept of the ‘smart city’ and how it can be understood in the context of public-private partnership as a tool that can possibly facilitate smart transformation of cities and regions ensuring wider range of prospects for various stakeholders including residents, business actors, authorities, educational institutions, NGOs and so on, as well as create a more sustainable economic and social environment. Furthermore, it discusses the problems of conceptualisation and operation-allocation of smart city projects in Azerbaijan and elsewhere, and the ways in which they can lead to project failure or success. The article also addresses the problems of implementation of the smart city concept in the country and discusses how to adapt general visions and global aspirations for smart and sustainable cities to the Azerbaijani context. Furthermore, the article suggests which metrics and policy domains the authorities should consider when translating the smart city visions into policy while applying PPP elements. The article also discusses the preconditions for success, and whether Azerbaijan has the necessary infrastructure and specialists for its implementation.
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