Smarten Up! Open Data, Toolkits and Participatory Governance in the Social City

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The current era of austerity is placing increasing pressure on governments everywhere to do more with less, particularly at the local level where government services have the greatest impact on citizens' everyday lives. Thereby the roles of information and communication technologies and citizens are highlighted. This article is designed to yield insights into how local city administrations can facilitate and optimize citizen involvement in the context of the co-production of city services deploying mobile devices. Cities can be seen to open up public data aiming at offering new opportunities for the generation, use and integration of, among others, economic, social and environmental data. They seek to do so via city-hosted toolkits allowing users – which are the most important users of the city's urban environment and generating the most current data and knowledge that may inform and enrich governing practices, such as planning - to develop mobile applications emphasizing local deployment. The analytical framework focuses on the role of the (purposefully) city-provided toolkit and the citizens' capacities to engage in the public domain guided by the Living Lab approach. In doing so, the dynamics between the provided tools (and data) addressing the needs of the city and citizens underpinning citizens' everyday life experience in navigating and appropriating the urban space, are drawn out. The empirical results are used as preliminary evidence to yield a more rounded understanding of co-production of e-government information and services leveraged as a core innovative process, currently being played out, in the city of Athens (Greece) and Ghent (Belgium).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-52
Number of pages18
JournalCommunications & Strategies
Issue number96
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

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