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Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 207;

Where’s Wally? In Search of Citizen Perspectives on the Smart City

1,‡,* , 1,‡
HighWire Centre for Doctoral Training, Lancaster University, Bailrigg LA1 4YW, UK
ImaginationLancaster, LICA/Lancaster University, Bailrigg LA1 4YW, UK
This paper is an extended version of our paper published in the 8th Conference of the International Forum on Urbanism.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Thorsten Schuetze
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 6 February 2016 / Accepted: 13 February 2016 / Published: 26 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Full-Text   |   PDF [212 KB, uploaded 26 February 2016]


This paper builds upon an earlier conference publication by the authors, offering contributions based on a systematic literature review and qualitative study. The paper begins by drawing attention to the paucity of “citizen”—more appropriately, “situated”—perspectives on what a smart city should and could be. The paper then addresses that absence by detailing a research project that explored how people in London, Manchester, and Glasgow responded to the smart city concept. Participants were asked questions regarding their prior familiarity with the phrase “smart city”, their thoughts relating to what it means for a city to be smart, and what a “true” smart city might mean to them. The paper analyses and offers a synthesis of the responses collected throughout the research with the dominant rhetoric about smart cities, as identified through a recent systematic literature review, thereby providing a critical assessment of the values underlying the smart city. It aims to explore and present some of the expectations that citizens hold for their cities’ politicians, policy makers, planners, academics, and technology companies. We believe that these perspectives from citizens can be used to inform responsible development, spatially and socially inclusive technologies, and ultimately more resilient cities. View Full-Text
Keywords: smart cities; participation; community-based development; local knowledge smart cities; participation; community-based development; local knowledge
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Thomas, V.; Wang, D.; Mullagh, L.; Dunn, N. Where’s Wally? In Search of Citizen Perspectives on the Smart City. Sustainability 2016, 8, 207.

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