The Concept and Dimensions of Risk Management in Smart Cities (Case Study: Mashhad Municipality)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Master's degree in Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning, Faculty of Literature and Human Sciences, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran




With the ever-increasing expansion of cities and the increase of migrations, we are witnessing the emergence of problems and inappropriate living conditions in cities, especially megacities, to deal with the situation, various approaches and theories have been proposed and used, among which we can mention the smart city. The purpose of the smart city is to provide favorable living conditions in cities for citizens so that they can easily access all available resources. Smart cities face risks and dangers due to the connection of urban networks and the complexity of issues. The important events in the urban environment from the political, economic, social, geographical, and human points of view show that human societies are constantly faced with natural and unnatural events. Issues related to risks and dangers in smart cities, including system failure, cyber-attacks, disruption of urban networks, illegal access to data, trade blocking, information diversion, etc., are real and common issues and need further analysis and investigation. Therefore, the security and privacy of citizens, which is mostly related to technology, and the issues related to the urban environment and organizations are among the important issues to optimize smart cities and improve the quality of life for citizens. Mashhad metropolis is the first leading city in the field of urban smartness in Iran, and it has a certificate of successful implementation of the key indicators of a sustainable smart city from the Global Sustainable Smart Cities Union. Risk management has a great value for Mashhad Metropolitan Municipality as the main trustee in urban management. Considering these issues, municipalities should consider that planning for smartness alone cannot provide the necessary security, comfort and convenience for citizens. The main goal of this research is to investigate the risk management situation in Mashhad Municipality. For this purpose, the dimensions and components of risk management are classified and themed, and finally the desired model is presented. As part of the work, this article tries to answer these questions:

-What are the themes, dimensions and components of risk management?


In terms of the purpose, the present research is part of applied research and based on the approach, it is of the type of qualitative studies. The research method is interpretive phenomenology. The participants were selected from Mashhad Municipality specialists and experts from organizations related to smart building. There were 15 participants in the qualitative section, and the snowball sampling method was exerted to select the desired sample. The collection and analysis of findings in the qualitative section was continuous and simultaneous. The main method of data collection was structured interview with open questions. The criterion for continuing the research was to reach theoretical saturation. Saturation of the findings was achieved with 8 participants; but in order to validate the findings, the interviews continued until the 15th person. In order to analyze the data in the qualitative part, the theme analysis method and MAXQDA software were used. This method can be implemented in various ways, among them, a theme network method was applied.

Results and discussion

In this research, the researcher has tried to explain the concept and dimensions of risk management; the results of the research included seven comprehensive themes, which include the senior manager and the special risk department in the municipal organization, risk maps, information documents, warning equipment, monitoring emerging risks, disaster recovery planning, and risk management workshops. According to the results of the research findings of the senior manager department and the special risk department in Mashhad municipality with the research of Vitonskite et al. (2019) in the research of smart cities and cyber security, a comparative study of the role of standards, third party risk management and security ownership, which is a comparison between Barcelona and Singapore and London have done equals that the results show that a common understanding of key security requirements is not shared between managers and different departments. The findings of the risk map section are consistent with the research of Sharvari et al. (2019), who conducted a comprehensive risk mapping study for strategic evacuation in semi-open roads and open spaces in smart cities. The findings of the warning equipment section are consistent with the research of Priyanka et al. (2021), who investigated the use of warning equipment in relation to the water network line in smart cities. Thus, the Internet of Things integrates sensor knowledge to monitor pressure, flow rate, pumping station parameters, temperature, and other external parameters, enabling a transition from monitoring and response to a pre-aware and proactive approach. In internal studies, the issue of risk management is mainly done with an organizational, banking, tax, etc. approach. In the field of smart cities, a limited number of research studies have been conducted in relation to cyber and technological security. Ghanbari and Shafiei (2020) in the research of cyber security, the main framework of smart cities concerning cyber risks in smart cities, and Beiramizadeh and Mollahosseini (2019) in the research of the concept of smart cities and their cyber security challenges and existing solutions have concluded that the field of cyber security of smart city in Iran is in its early stages and requires the efforts of governments and developers.


According to the analysis, risk management is a new topic in Mashhad municipality, and the necessary fields in the municipality and related organizations are either not prepared or are being implemented. Based on the results of the existing risk management programs in Mashhad municipality, it needs to be integrated and uniform. From this point of view, it can be said that according to the topics obtained from the interviews, there are plans for risk management in Mashhad Municipality. However, because there is no managerial integration, risk management cannot be done properly because, as mentioned, all urban systems are connected in smart cities. Hence, a disturbance in one department affects the rest and needs integrated management.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 28 April 2024
  • Receive Date: 09 September 2023
  • Revise Date: 27 April 2024
  • Accept Date: 28 April 2024