[This article belongs to Volume - 23, Issue - 11]

From evidence to decision in evidence-based social science: insights from the Evidence Commission Report

Evidence-based decision making is promoted as offering efficiency and effectiveness; however, its uptake has faced barriers such as underdeveloped supporting culture, limited access to evidence, and evidence that is not fully relevant. Smart city conceptualizations offer economic and environmental sustainability and better quality of life through evidence-based policy decision-making. We wondered whether smart city theory and practice has advanced the knowledge of evidence-based decision-making. We searched major databases for literature containing a mention of smart cities, decision-making, and policy. We identified relevant literature from a range of disciplines and supplemented these by following backwards and forwards citations. Evidence-based decision-making was found mostly in literature regarding the theory and practice of smart city operations, and, to lesser extents, the articles regarding policy decisions and tactical decisions. Better decision-making which supported the achievement of city sustainability objectives was reported in some articles; however, we found significant obstacles to the further achievement of city objectives in the areas of underachievement in collaborative decision-making, privileging of big data evidence, and artificial intelligence agents as decision-makers. We assembled a definition of smart city decision-making and developed an agenda of research which will support city governments, theorists, and practitioners in better achieving sustainability through improved decision-making.