The wisdom of ‘smart’ development increasingly shapes urban sustainability in Europe and beyond. Yet, the ‘smart city’ paradigm has been critiqued for favouring technological solutions and business interests over social inclusion and urban innovation. Despite the rhetoric of ‘citizen-centred approaches’ and ‘user-generated data’, the level of stakeholder engagement and public empowerment is still in question. It is unclear how smart city initiatives are developing common visions according to the principles of sustainable urban development. This paper examines how data governance in particular is framed in the new smart city agenda that is focused on sustainability. The challenges and opportunities of data governance in sustainability-driven smart city initiatives are articulated within a conceptual Framework on Sustainable Smart City Data Governance. Drawing on three cases from European countries and a stakeholder survey, the paper shows how governance of data can underpin urban smart and sustainable development solutions. The paper presents insights and lessons from this multi-case study, and discusses risks, challenges, and future research.
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