Urenio Watch Watch: Cities

Open Governance in the Smart City

Open Governance in the Smart City is a scoping report providing an overview of the variety of approaches local governments and communities can take to ICT enabled open governance. Through eleven cases, 9 european and 2 non-european cities, the report also discusses risks and challenges, concluding with a number of recommendations.  

What makes Governance in the Smart City Open?

According to two key documents supported and endorsed by a broad coalition of actors the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities’ “Citizen Manifesto’ and The Basque
Declaration: New Pathways for European Cities and Towns to create productive, sustainable and resilient cities – the principles of smart city open governance are:

Inclusiveness: smart city open governance should strive to include everyone, especially vulnerable populations and groups that are
difficult to reach. Furthermore, gender balance should be an aim in all processes. ICT enabled open governance should always take into account the digital divide in societies.

Privacy: The large amounts of data that are collected today in cities offer great opportunities for better management and services. At the same time they also pose risks for individual freedom and the right to privacy. ICT enabled open governance solutions need to respect privacy
and build it into their process and service design.

Democratic Responsibility: Open governance approaches are always embedded in a legal and formal framework. They do not replace but complement established democratic processes. Finding the right balance between established governance models and new, open forms of governance is crucial. This is especially important when considering which issues remain exclusively with elected public authorities and why.

At the city level, this report identifies four approaches to ICT enabled open governance at the local level. These are:

  1. Data and information
  2. Crowdsourcing
  3. Co-creation
  4. Collective decision making

The efforts of the majority of cities in Europe and abroad in the field of
ICT enabled open governance fall into one or more of these categories. In most cases though, a city will not limit itself to only one of these approaches but freely combine them according to local needs and
capacity. The cases presented in this report are structured and
clustered according to these four approaches and they are:

  1. Amsterdam: Datapunt Amsterdam
  2. Athens: Synathina
  3. Bologna: Collaborare è Bologna
  4. Chicago: Smart Chicago Collaborative
  5. Hamburg: NextHamburg
  6. Helsinki: Helsinki Region Infoshare
  7. Madrid: Decide Madrid
  8. Reykjavik: Betri Reykjavik
  9. Seoul: Open Data Plaza
  10. Tirana: Tirana IME
  11. Vienna: Digitale Agenda Wien

By analysing the case cities and these four approaches, the report suggests eight recommendations. These do not constitute a check list, but can rather be used as guidelines when applying ICT to governance in a local context. In short, the recommendations are:

  • Look for real problems to solve
  • Go where your users are
  • Set aside sufficient resources
  • Prepare to change
  • Keep your processes open and accessible
  • Be transparent about your own role
  • Build in future innovation

About smarticipate

This report was developed in the framework of the EU funded Horizon 2020 research project SMARTICIPATE. This project is a data-rich citizen dialogue system, transforming public data into new intelligence, and transposing elements of intelligent ICT development to urban governance. The aim is to integrate bottom-up processes in the realm of city planning, using the full potential of citizens by sharing ideas in the co-production of decision making. smarticipate thereby transforms interaction between citizens, businesses and public administrations in the management of cities.