The rapid development of smart cities has raised concerns about residents' emotional well-being (EWB). To enhance EWB when developing smart cities, policy-makers should take residents' perceptions and attitudes into account. How can residents' perceptions about smart city development help promote their EWB? In this paper, we constructed a comprehensive model to explore the effect mechanism of perceived smart city developments on residents' EWB by considering the factors of stress, convenience, and life satisfaction (LS). Using a sample of 428 urban residents in a Chinese smart city, the paper verified the conceptual model by using a structural equation model (SEM) analysis. The results showed that: (1) perceived smart public service (PSPS) can increase EWB by reducing stress; it can also increase EWB by the mechanism of improved LS, brought about by this reduced stress. Perceived smart infrastructure (PSI) will reduce EWB by increasing stress; it can also decrease EWB by the mechanism of reduced LS, brought about by increased stress. (2) Perceived smart public administration (PSPA), PSPS, PSI, and perceived smart environmental protection (PSEP) can enhance EWB via the mechanism of increasing convenience and thereby improving LS. (3) Finally, the statistically insignificant relationship between convenience and LS may be due to the interaction effect of stress and convenience, because the interaction term between convenience and stress has a significant effect on LS, resulting in four insignificant indirect effects involving PSPA, PSPS, PSI, PSEP and EWB vis-à-vis convenience. Overall, this paper contributes to cross-disciplinary research on residents' perceptions with respect to smart city development, and provides guidelines for governmental policy-making in the planning of smart cities.
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