Do Smart Cities Really Provide Opportunities for Citizen Participation? A Case Study of the RECI Cities in Spain (2017)
The authors have developed a framework for systemic analysis and multi-disciplinary methodology that has made it possible to understand the outcomes of the implementation process for the urban centers included in the Spanish Network of Smart Cities (RECI). Starting with the research question, “Do Smart Cities really provide opportunities for citizen participation?”, we sought to discover how participation mechanisms on the Madrid and Barcelona city government web portals have evolved and how their development has been affected by changes in political leadership. We also compared participation mechanisms in the two smaller cities of Guadalajara and Huesca in relation to the political parties that are currently governing them. The main hypothesis is that Smart Cities should include various mechanisms for e-participation on their websites that make it possible to know how citizens want to personalize services (citizen centricity) and how to improve empowerment through citizen-administration dialogue processes (citizen engagement). Using these methods of analysis, we confirmed that the Smart Cities model had been consolidated on the web portals of the large cities and their participation mechanisms had increased. Meanwhile, in the two smaller cities, the Smart Cities model was being implemented at different “speeds”, depending on the territorial and political context.
KeywordsCitizen participation e-Participation RECI smart cities Heuristic test Web portals
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