This research project assesses the value of ICTs for engaging citizens in the governance of sustainable cities. The societal objective is to present the acquired insights in the form of a research-based knowledge system for government officials. This knowledge is in dire need since the alignment of ICTs and strategies for urban governance is a key challenge for cities: new technologies such as social media and open data promise 'smart governance' when the technologies are integrated in strategies for citizen participation. Examples are abound: the City of Amsterdam uses Citizen Toolkits to engage citizens in environmental monitoring, the Greater London Authority uses open data to stimulate sustainability initiatives and Porto Alegre gathers information from residents to stimulate a dialogue about urban development. The new technologies are 'in vogue' but little is known about their effectiveness - and the drawbacks - in different organizational, institutional and political contexts. To assess the effectiveness, the three main empirical research projects are comparative analyses of smart governance in infrastructure, economy and poverty in Utrecht, Curitiba and Glasgow. The project elicits the mechanisms of smart governance, identifies the conditions that matter and assesses its contributions to (economic, democratic, social and environmental) sustainability. A novel theoretical perspective at the interface of e-governance and urban governance studies is developed to realize this aim and innovative research methods such as virtual ethnography are used. This project is carried out in close collaboration with officials from the Cities of Utrecht, Curitiba and Glasgow to ensure its value for policy-makers.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: