Smart City pp 157-182 | Cite as

Empowered Cities? An Analysis of the Structure and Generated Value of the Smart City Ghent

  • Bastiaan BaccarneEmail author
  • Peter Mechant
  • Dimitri Schuurman
Part of the Progress in IS book series (PROIS)


Smart cities have gained momentum as a conceptual model which embodies a fresh wave of techno-optimism and emphasizes the positive effects of ICT and other innovative technologies in a city, often in combination with multidisciplinary collaborative partnerships. This article assesses a series of six smart city initiatives within one local city ecosystem by proposing a conceptual framework which is then used to analyze the architecture, value flows and contextual dimensions of the smart city Ghent. The results of our analysis show the multi-level collaborative value creation potential in a smart city and shed light on the complexity of these processes. The main conclusion is that current smart city initiatives face the challenge of evolving from demonstrators towards real sustainable value. Smart cities often have a technological deterministic, project-based approach, which forecloses a sustainable, permanent and growing future for the project outcomes.


Smart city Multi-stakeholder network Collaborative value creation  Living labs Innovation ecosystems 


  1. 1.
    Eurostat. (2012). Eurostat regional yearbook 2012, Luxembourg.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bloomberg, M. R. (2012). While nations talk, cities act. The @C40Cities mayors summit will advance urban solutions to combat climate change: March 8, 2012, 7:40 PM. Tweet (MikeBloomberg).
  3. 3.
    Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C., & Nijkamp, P. (2009) Smart cities in Europe. Paper presented at the 3rd Central European Conference on Regional Science (CERS), Košice, Slovak Republic.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dolente, C., Galea, J., & Leporelli, C. (2010). Next generation access and digital divide: opposite sides of the same coin? Paper presented at the European Regional ITS Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Verdegem, P. (2009). De digitale kloof en/in e-government: Uitdagingen voor de overheid in de informatiemaatschappij.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    O’Reilly, T. (2007). What is Web 2.0: Design patterns and business models for the next generation of software. Commun. Strateg., 65, 17–37.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Van Audenhove, L., Lievens, B., & Cammaerts, B. (2005). E-democratie voor Vlaanderen: Stand van zaken., Brussels, Belgium.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Poiesz, T. B. C., & Van Raaij, W. F. (2002). Synergetische Marketing. Een visie op oorzaken en gevolg van veranderend consumentengedrag. Amsterdam: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Frissen, V., & van Lieshout, M. (2006). ICT and everyday life: The role of the user. In P. Verbeek & A. Slob (Eds.), Technology, behavior and the environment, a multidisciplinary approach. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    ITU. (2005). The internet of things: Executive summary, Geneva, Switzerland.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kwon, O., & Kim, J. (2007). A methodology of identifying ubiquitous smart services for U-city development. In J. Indulska, L. T. Yang, J. Cao, J. Ma, E. Loukis, Y. Charalabidis, & J. Scholl (Eds.), Ubiquitous intelligence and computing. Berlin: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Shin, D. (2009). Ubiquitous city: Urban technologies, urban infrastructure and urban informatics. Journal of Information Science, 35, 515–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Choi, J. (2010). The city is connections: Seoul as an urban network. Multimedia Systems, 16, 75–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Loukis, E., Charalabidis, Y., & Scholl, J. (2011). Editorial of the special issue on digital cities. Telematics and Informatics, 28, 144–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ergazakis, E., & Ergazakis, K. (2011). Digital cities: Towards an integrated decision support methodology. Telematics and Informatics, 28, 148–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Middleton, C., & Bryne, A. (2011). An exploration of user-generated wireless broadband infrastructures in digital cities. Telematics and Informatics, 28, 163–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Komninos, N. (2008). Intelligent cities and globalisation of innovation networks. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ojala, T., Valkama, V., Kukka, H., Heikkinen, T., Lindén, T., Jurmu, M., et al. (2010). UBI-hotspots: Sustainable ecosystem infrastructure for real world urban computing research and business. Presented at the 2nd International Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems (MEDES 2010), Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Arnkil, R., Järvensivu, A., Koski, P., & Piirainen, T. (2010). Exploring the quadruple helix. Report of Quadruple Helix Research for the CLIQ Project., Tampere.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Etzkowitz, H. (2008). The triple helix: University–industry–government. Implications for Policy and Evaluation.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Schuurman, D., De Moor, K., De Marez, L., & Evens, T. (2011). A living lab research approach for mobile TV. Telematics and Informatics, 28, 271–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Westerlund, M., & Leminen, S. (2011). Managing the challenges of becoming an open innovation company: Experiences from Living Labs. Technology Innovation Management Review, 15, 223–231.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Feurstein, K., Hesmer, A., Hribernik, K., Thoben, T., & Schumacher, J. (2008). Living labs: A new development strategy. In J. Schumacher & V. P. Niitamo (Eds.), European living labs—A new approach for human centric regional innovation. Berlin: Wissenschaftlicher.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Buitendag, A. A. K., van der Walt, J. S., Malebane, T., & de Jager, L. (2012). Addressing knowledge support services as part of a living lab environment. Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, 9, 221–241.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Cosgrave, E., Arbuthnot, K., & Tryfonas, T. (2013). Living labs, innovation districts and information marketplaces: A systems approach for smart cities. Procedia Computer Science, 16, 668–677.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Paskaleva, K. (2011). The smart city: A nexus for open innovation? Intell. Buildings International, 3, 153–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    European Commission. (2011). Communication from the commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. A Digital Agenda for Europe., Brussels, Belgium.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    OECD. (2007). Guidelines for access to research data from public funding, Paris, France.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Swan, A. (2012). Policy guidelines for the development and promotion of open access. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Von Hippel, E. (2005). Democratizing innovation. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Bogers, M., Afuah, A., & Bastian, B. (2010). Users as innovators: A review, critique, and future research directions. Journal of Management, 36, 857–875.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence culture: Where old and new media collide. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Cosgrave, E., & Tryfonas, T. (2012). Exploring the relationship between smart city policy and implementation. In The First International Conference on Smart Systems, Devices and Technologies, pp. 79–82.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Chesbrough, H. W. (2003). Open innovation: The new imperative for creating and profiting from technology. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Hargadon, A. B., & Bechky, B. A. (2006). When collections of creatives become creative collectives: A field study of problem solving at work. Organization Science, 17, 484–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Fransman, M. (2010). The new ICT ecosystem: Implications for policy and regulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Stocker, A., Dösinger, G., Saed, A., & Wagner, C. (2007). The three pillars of “corporate web 2.0”: A model for definition. In Proceedings of the I-MEDIA ’07 and I-SEMANTICS ’07 Conference, Graz, Austria.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Leminen, S., Westerlund, M., & Nyström, A. (2012). Living labs as open-innovation networks. TIM Rev. September, 6–11 2012.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Perkmann, M., & Walsh, K. (2007). University–industry relationships and open innovation: Towards a research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 9, 259–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Brem, A., & Viardot, E. (2013). Evolution of innovation management: Trends in an international context. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Bogers, M., & West, J. (2012). Managing distributed innovation: Strategic utilization of open and user innovation. Creativity and Innovation Management, 21, 61–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Hargadon, A. (1998). Firms as knowledge brokers: Lessons in pursuing continuous innovation. California Management Review, 40, 209–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Norman, D. (2002). The design of everyday things. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Ballon, P. (2007). Business modelling revisited: The configuration of control and value. Journal of Policy, Regulation and Strategy for Telecommunications, Information and Media, 9, 6–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Yin, R. (1984). Case study research. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Eisenhardt, K. (1989). Building theories from case study research. Academy of Management Review, 14, 532–550.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Stad Gent. (2007). Strategische nota van het meerjarenplan 2007–2012. Available at
  48. 48.
    Schenk, E., & Guittard, C. (2009). Towards a characterization of crowdsourcing practices. Available online at:
  49. 49.
    Basili, V. R., Briand, L. C., & Melo, W. L. (1996). How reuse influences productivity in object-oriented systems. Communications of the ACM, 39, 104–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Snijders, C., Matzat, U., & Reips, U. D. (2012). “Big data”: Big gaps of knowledge in the field of internet science. International Journal of Internet Science, 7, 1–5.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Manyika, J., Chui, M., Brown, B., Bughin, J., Dobbs, R., Roxburgh, C., & Byers, A. H. (2011). Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity. McKinsey Global Institute, Retrived May 21, 2014 from
  52. 52.
    Anderson, J. Q., & Rainie, L. (2012). Big data: Experts say new forms of information analysis will help people be more nimble and adaptive, but worry over humans’ capacity to understand and use these new tools well, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Mantelero, A. (2012). Masters of big data: Concentration of power over digital information. Available SSRN
  54. 54.
    Davies, T. (2010). Open data, democracy and public sector reform. A look at open government data use from Retrived May 21, 2014 from
  55. 55.
    Lippert. (2010). Public sector information reuse in Denmark: European public sector information platform, Topic Report No. 20. European Public Sector Information (PSI) Platform, funded by the European Commission.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Coenen, T., Mechant, P., Laureyssens, T., Claeys, L., & Criel, J. (2013). ZWERM: Stimulating urban neighborhood self-organization through gamification. Presented at the International Conference Using ICT, Social Media and Mobile Technologies to Foster Self-Organisation in Urban and Neighbourhood Governance, Delft, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    All, A., Coorevits, L., & Schuurman, D. (2013). Bottom-up radio: Creating a new media format using living lab research. Paper presented at Breaking the Media Value Chain: VII International Conference on Communication and Reality, Barcelona, Spain.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Aslin, H. J. & Brown, V. A. (2004). Towards whole of community engagement: A practical toolkit. Canberra: Murray-Darling Basin Commission.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Thompson, L., Stenekes, N., Kruger, H. & Carr, A. (2009). Engaging in biosecurity: Literature review of community engagement approaches. Canberra: Bureau of Rural Sciences.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Scearce, D. (2011). Connected Citizens: The Power, Peril and Potential of Networks. Knight Foundation and Monitor Institute, Retrived May 21, 2014 from
  61. 61.
    Friedman, T. L. (2005). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York: Farrar Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Stern, M., & Dillman, D. (2006). Community participation, social ties, and use of the internet. City Community, 5, 409–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Wellman, B., Quan-Haase, A., Boase, J., Chen, W., Hampton, K., Díaz, I. and Miyata, K. (2003). The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 8, 0. doi: 10.1111/j.1083-6101.2003.tb00216.x
  64. 64.
    Lichtenthaler, U., & Lichtenthaler, E. (2009). A capability-based framework for open innovation: Complementing absorptive capacity. Journal of Management Studies, 48, 1315–1338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Mechant, P., Stevens, I., Evens, T., & Verdegem, P. (2012). E–deliberation 2.0 for smart cities: A critical assessment of two “idea generation” cases. International Journal of Electronic Governance, 5, 82–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Schuurman, D., Baccarne, B., Mechant, P., & De Marez, L. (2012). Smart ideas for smart cities: Investigating crowdsourcing for generating and selecting ideas for ICT innovation in a city context. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, 7, 11–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bastiaan Baccarne
    • 1
    Email author
  • Peter Mechant
    • 1
  • Dimitri Schuurman
    • 1
  1. 1.iMinds—MICTGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

Personalised recommendations