The realisation of smart cities has attracted much attention in recent years from private and governmental actors, as a means to make cities more efficient, climate friendly and socially inclusive through the use of modern technology. However, few studies examine how smart cities are framed and understood within the public sphere. The aim of this study is to compare how domestic smart city initiatives are reported in the news of their respective countries, and to clarify the differences and similarities in media content. In this paper, we present the initial findings of our planned long-term comparative news content analysis. As a first step, we analysed national newspaper articles published between 2011 and 2019 in Japan and Slovenia. Our corpus consists of 41 Japanese and 20 Slovenian articles, written in relation to domestic smart city initiatives. In total, we identified 14 themes, five of which were common in both countries, while the remaining nine appeared exclusively in the news of one country. Our conclusions indicate that the news in both countries differ in what application domains of Smart Cities are discussed (e.g. natural resources and energy, transportation and mobility). We establish a procedure for further cross-cultural analyses, necessary to understand how smart cities are framed in the public sphere. Thereby, we contribute to further discussion on the nature and definition of smart cities and how they are communicated.
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