Smart and Sustainable? Positioning Adaptation to Climate Change in the European Smart City

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This article reports on the elements of adaptation to climate change in European Smart City initiatives in order to understand to what extent Smart Cities can be the answer in the fight against climate change. On the grounds of innovative efforts implemented in Barcelona, Rotterdam, and Vienna, we examine the opportunities and obstacles to both Smart Environment (defined as an axis of the Smart City) and adaptation to climate change, linking them together. As it is difficult to estimate the benefits of climate action in the short term due to often costly solutions, Smart City proposals could provide the economic incentive to create adaptive, energy-efficient, and sustainable societies. As the need for adaptive and resilient cities in the global context of climate change rises, the concept of Smart City might need to evolve into that of a Smart Sustainable City, positioning the environment at the core of its development. Results from this analysis suggest that the interaction between technology and nature can be enhanced when a Smart City approach promotes the integration of climate strategies and encourages the participation of citizens, something that is crucial since early adaptation efforts can safeguard smart infrastructure from climate impacts.