The Impact of User Participation Methods on E-Government Projects: The Case of La Louvière , Belgium

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In recent years, information and communication technologies (ICT) have allowed governments to improve their internal functioning and to improve the delivery of information and services to their users. This application of ICT in governments has been conceptualized as “e-government”. However, more recently, smart cities emerged as a locally-embedded paradigm that proposes the design of innovative solutions across all domains of our everyday life (mobility, environment, economy, education, quality of life, and governance) with ICT as an enabler. In their recent evolutions, these two concepts have advocated for increased involvement of their stakeholders (citizens, businesses, public servants, etc.) through user-participation methods to support the design of their projects. This article intends to examine how these methods impact an e-government project and, more particularly, to find out which challenges and benefits practitioners experience. In order to reach that goal, we studied the case of the city of La Louvière (Belgium) through a one year plus study following action research’s best practices. This article contributes at several levels. First, it describes the challenges and benefits experienced with participation methods in a concrete project. Second, it proposes an e-government implementation process enhanced with these methods. Third, this article discusses the similarities and differences between e-government and smart cities through the lens of participation methods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-186
Number of pages12
JournalMedia and Communication
Issue number4 Theoretical Reflections and Case Studies
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Action research
  • Citizen
  • E-government
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Smart city
  • User participation


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