Rapid urbanization, climate change, the wish for a more sustainable development, resource depletion and the widespread use of the Internet and mobile phones represent a great challenge for urban planning. According to many scientific studies, urban planning tools and methods are unable to cope with contemporary urban mutations and meet the realities of cities because they fail to take the new challenges urban centers face into account. In their current shape, planning tools no longer have a decisive enough impact on urban dynamics. Moreover, citizens are often left outside the planning process, even as they are creating and living in the city. Although numerous guidelines exist to help cities to include residents, adapt to climate change and create more liveable cities, and while many isolated actions are undertaken at the local scale, very few concrete actions emerge at the level of cities. This way of acting, however, seems to be the most relevant one in terms of building sustainable and efficient cities.
The advent of technology has facilitated the planning process, by simplifying exchanges and data processing, analysis and collection, while reducing costs and saving time. However, processes have not really evolved, even as technology offers great potential to transform urban planning and adapt it to forthcoming issues. The smart city concept has become very popular, but its definition remains vague and it mainly concerns real-time city management, even though the concept behind smart cities precisely calls for smart planning.
The complexity of the issues, the social and urban dynamics and the multiplicity of stakeholders all constitute elements that call into question the process of sharing and producing information and knowledge. It is therefore important to determine the potential role that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) can play in this context. The aim of this research is to investigate how ICT can change urban planning methods and tools to reach sustainability and inclusiveness. The methodology adopted in this work requires the creation of an ICT-based conceptual tool established on two case studies: Singapore and Geneva. This research will determine the restraints as well as the levers associated with the use of technology in the field of urban planning and demonstrate the potential of ICT-based tools to better address current urban challenges.