The city as living labortory: A playground for the innovative development of smart city applications

Paper by Veeckman, Carina and van der Graaf, Shenja: “Nowadays the smart-city concept is shifting from a top-down, mere technological approach towards bottom-up processes that are based on the participation of creative citizens, research organisations and companies. Here, the city acts as an urban innovation ecosystem in which smart applications, open government data and new modes of participation are fostering innovation in the city. However, detailed analyses on how to manage smart city initiatives as well as descriptions of underlying challenges and barriers seem still scarce. Therefore, this paper investigates four, collaborative smart city initiatives in Europe to learn how cities can optimize the citizen’s involvement in the context of open innovation. The analytical framework focuses on the innovation ecosystem and the civic capacities to engage in the public domain. Findings show that public service delivery can be co-designed between the city and citizens, if different toolkits aligned with the specific capacities and skills of the users are provided. By providing the right tools, even ordinary citizens can take a much more active role in the evolution of their cities and generate solutions from which both the city and everyday urban life can possibly benefit.”