What makes a smart village smart? A review of the literature

Paolo Gerli*, Julio Navio Marco, Jason Whalley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: Smart villages (SVs) have lately attracted considerable attention, but what does the term mean? This literature review aims to explore its ambiguous nature and to identify main theoretical and practical aspects to be further explored in the conceptualisation and implementation of these initiatives. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis draws upon a review of 79 references from the grey and academic literature on SVs, identified through a systematic search of academic databases and snowball sampling. Findings: This review highlights how the definition and characterisation of SVs is currently shaped by disciplinary backgrounds and geographical contexts. SVs are often viewed as the rural version of smart cities or an innovative model for rural development, but there has been little engagement in the literature with other debates around rurality and sustainable development. It is only through engaging with these other debates that a better understanding of the term will emerge. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper to conduct a systematic review on SVs. In addition to identifying the main trends in the conceptualisations and design of these initiatives, this paper contributes to the academic debate on smart rural development and provides useful recommendations to both policy makers and practitioners.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Early online date22 Feb 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Feb 2022


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