Towards a Holistic Evaluation of Citizen Participation in Smart Cities

Anthony Simonofski, Stefanie Van Den Storme, Hanne Meers

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More and more cities aim to solve their urban challenges by implementing various smart city initiatives. Involving citizens in the design of these projects has proven to be an essential precondition for a successful outcome. Therefore, citizen participation in the context of smart cities has gained a considerable attention by researchers and practitioners. However, participation can be instrumental to solely gain a smart label and must thus be carefully evaluated. Several evaluation frameworks, largely based on the seminal work of Arnstein’s Ladder in 1969, have been developed over the years but can be oversimplified, too strict or not fit for a smart city context.
Following design science research, this paper develops a holistic framework to evaluate participation in smart cities by bundling several established evaluation scales from the scientific literature. By means of this framework, it is possible to evaluate to what extent smart city initiatives are citizen-oriented. Then, the framework is applied to the cities of Dublin and London. In order to collect more detailed information, we applied it to the case of Knokke-Heist (Belgium). Based on the evaluation of this city, some recommendations for improvement of its smart city strategy are proposed.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2020


  • citizen participation
  • smart cities
  • evaluation framework
  • arnstein's ladder
  • Evaluation Framework
  • Arnstein's Ladder
  • Smart Cities
  • Citizen Participation


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