Evaluating development prospects of smart cities: Cluster analysis of Kazakhstan’s regions


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This study aims to study Kazakhstan’s regions and identify places with the best potential for developing smart cities based on cluster analysis. To analyze the differentiation by the level of development, 17 regions of Kazakhstan are grouped according to 2020 data from the statistical bulletin of the National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The formation of groups of regions with different values of indicators was carried out based on agglomerative clustering using the single linkage, complete linkage, and Ward’s clustering methods. In agglomerative clustering, the algorithm groups regions based on observations into clusters, and indicators determine each area’s innovative development level. The instrument to build clustering is the “RStudio” software package. As a result, regions with their essential characteristics were identified, and an assessment of their prospects was obtained with the most significant potential for developing and managing “smart cities” – Atyrau region, Almaty city, and Astana city. The remaining clusters include regions where favorable conditions for the development of innovations have not yet been formed, which require more resources and efforts to build “smart cities.” Therefore, they should not be the first to implement this concept. They need a more balanced, integrated approach, ideally supported by experience in implementing the idea in more promising regions. In a sense, clustering also allowed for identifying potential (or even existing) innovation clusters in regions of Kazakhstan. The study results can be used in developing government programs to form smart cities and further study the potential of smart cities.

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    • Figure 1. Dendrogram of clusters of regions of Kazakhstan, single linkage
    • Figure 2. Dendrogram of clusters of regions of Kazakhstan, complete linkage
    • Figure 3. Dendrogram of clusters of regions of Kazakhstan, Ward’s method
    • Table 1. Description and interpretation of the regional clusters of Kazakhstan
    • Conceptualization
      Ivan Digel, Marat Urdabayev, Nurbakhyt Nurmukhametov, Aigul Akparova
    • Data curation
      Ivan Digel, Dinara Mussabalina, Marat Urdabayev
    • Investigation
      Ivan Digel, Marat Urdabayev, Nurbakhyt Nurmukhametov
    • Methodology
      Ivan Digel, Marat Urdabayev, Aigul Akparova
    • Project administration
      Ivan Digel, Dinara Mussabalina
    • Visualization
      Ivan Digel, Marat Urdabayev, Nurbakhyt Nurmukhametov, Aigul Akparova
    • Writing – original draft
      Ivan Digel, Marat Urdabayev
    • Writing – review & editing
      Ivan Digel, Marat Urdabayev
    • Funding acquisition
      Dinara Mussabalina
    • Supervision
      Dinara Mussabalina
    • Software
      Marat Urdabayev, Aigul Akparova
    • Resources
      Nurbakhyt Nurmukhametov
    • Validation
      Aigul Akparova