A Smart-City Scope of Operations Management


Authors: Wei Qi and Zuo-Jun Max Shen

Publication: Production and Operations Management, Forthcoming


We are entering an era of great expectations towards our cities. The vision of “smart city” has been pursued worldwide to transform urban habitats into superior efficiency, quality and sustainability. This phenomenon prompts us to ponder what role the scholars in operations management (OM) can assume. In this essay, we express our initial thoughts on expanding OM to the smart-city scope. We review smart-city initiatives of governments, industry, national laboratories and academia. We argue that the smart-city movement will transition from the tech-oriented stage to the decision-oriented stage. Hence, a smart city can be perceived as a system scope within which planning and operational decisions are orchestrated at the urban scale, reflective of multidimensional needs, and adaptive to massive data and innovation. The benefits of studying smart-city OM are manifold and significant: contributing to deeper understanding of smart cities by providing advanced analytical frameworks, pushing OM knowledge boundaries (such as data-driven decision making), and empowering the OM community to deliver much broader impacts than before. We discuss several research opportunities to embody these thoughts, in the interconnected contexts of smart buildings, smart grid, smart mobility and new retail. These opportunities arise from the increasing integration of systems and business models at the urban scale.

Desautels 22

In recognition of research excellence as it relates to publications in top-tier management journals, our Faculty has compiled a list of high quality, peer-reviewed management journals, which is referred to as the Desautels 22.