SmartGov Press Release June 2016

Delivering Sustainable Cities Through Smart Technologies

Press Release: 13 June 2016

‘SmartGov’ Research Project: Smart Governance of Sustainable Cities

Delivering Sustainable Cities Through Smart Technologies

The University of Stirling has been awarded a prestigious Economic and Social Research Council grant (708,000 EUR), to undertake research on ‘Smart Cities’, a phenomenon that is fast becoming increasingly influential worldwide in how citizens, businesses and policy-makers use smart technologies to collectively engage in the re-design and shaping of local services, sustainability initiatives, and urban development.

The research project, which will run from 2015-2019, is called ‘SmartGov: Smart Governance of Sustainable Cities’, and is being funded by research councils in the United Kingdom (ESRC); the Netherlands (NWO), and Brazil (FAPESP).

The ‘SmartGov’ project will be the focus of a conference to be held at Utrecht, the Netherlands, from 13th to 16th June, 2016 involving practitioners, policy-makers and the ‘SmartGov’ project teams. The conference will provide a platform for scientific exchange of ideas and thoughts about the SmartGov project, and discuss ways of advancing the debate about smart governance from a general notion (that ICTs help to engage citizens) to a specific understanding of which approach to engage citizens with ICTs actually works for Smart urban governance. There will also be reflection on the experiences on the project process so far and learning points for the (empirical) research phase of the project.

The University of Stirling team, led by Professor William Webster of Stirling Management School and Professor Douglas Robertson of the Faculty of Social Sciences, will work with partners at Utrecht University (the Netherlands), and Fundação Getulio Vargas, Sao Paolo, (Brazil). The three research teams have a strong academic track record and extensive experience with collaboration in international research projects, and include experienced urban scholars and top-level e-government experts.

Professor Webster said:

‘‘The ‘SmartGov’ research project is thought to be unique in its focus on citizen participation using Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), including those deriving from social media, to engage with city administrations in previously unforeseen ways of accessing new forms of information and gaining more personalised control over services and access to interactive services.’’

‘‘The research teams will undertake comparative research in three case study cities of Glasgow (UK); Utrecht (the Netherlands), and Curitiba (Brazil), on how to assess the value of ICTs for engaging citizens in the governance of sustainable cities. 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.’’

Smart use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) presents a ‘golden opportunity’ for engaging citizens to co-produce liveable and sustainable cities. Many local and regional governments are experimenting with social networking technologies but little is known about their significance in civic involvement. The key research objective is to analyse how the use of ICTs stimulates or hinders citizen engagement.

The outputs from the ‘SmartGov’ project will enhance sustainable development in urban regions, providing sustainable solutions for challenges faced in our current and future society. The knowledge created will also be used to strengthen democratic governance practices. The research will not produce a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to smart governance, but the basis for learning between cities around the world.


Contact for further information:

Professor William Webster, Stirling Management School, University of Stirling,

Tel: +44 (0)1786 467359

Twitter: @CrispSurv