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Smart Governance for Sustainable Cities

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 March 2024) | Viewed by 1266

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Information and Communication Systems Engineering, University of the Aegean, Samos, Greece
Interests: smart cities; open data; interoperability; digital governance

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Guest Editor
Department of Informatics in Management, Gdańsk University of Technology, Gdańsk, Poland
Interests: smart cities; digital government; open data; digital governance; digital inclusion

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Guest Editor
Department for E-Governance, University for Continuing Education Krems, 3500 Krems an der Donau, Austria
Interests: smart cities; digital governance; information systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
European Citizen Science Association, 10115 Berlin, Germany
Interests: citizen science; sustainability; inclusion

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The rationale behind the formulation of the SDGs, as expressed in Agenda 2030, is to make global efforts to achieve social, economic and environmental sustainability. Goal 11 of the SDGs focuses attention on the concept of sustainable cities, in which local governments take actions toward urban sustainability, understood as "a balance between environmental protection, economic development, and social wellbeing" [1]. Research has drawn attention to the applications of technological, organizational, and social innovations to address economic and environmental performance, social inclusion, interaction with citizenry, disaster management and efficient administration [2,3]. Yet, as with any innovation, urban sustainability backed up with technological advances faces challenges and adverse effects [4]. As such, diffusion of innovation requires the strengthening of the cooperation between city stakeholders, the development of various policies, the agility of local governments to apply modern technologies, increased citizen participation, and democratic rule of law [5]. Since impediments occur across various sustainable city domains, such as policy, public administration, management, law, technology and more [6,7], the need for smart governance arises [8,9]. 

Governance is defined as the enabling environment supported by legal frameworks to end efficient processes to enable the responsiveness of government to the citizens’ needs. Smart governance, on the other hand,  is the intelligent use of information and communication technologies to improve decision-making through better collaboration among different stakeholders, including government and citizens [8]. Thus, it has been pointed out that governance can be manifested through smart governance. Smart governance puts the adoption of technology (big data, AI, IoT, etc.) as the trigger of innovation and change in administrative processes, collaboration patterns, and decision-making. Additionally, smart governance supports a local government’s transition to being open, transparent and citizen-oriented, and its outcomes are beneficial to urban sustainability through making the right policy choices, developing innovative governance structures via ICT, and outcome-oriented governing [10]. 

This Special Issue of Sustainability is therefore specifically interested in developing and strengthening original research on the emerging concept of smart governance towards the development of sustainable cities. It seeks interdisciplinary contributions in the areas of public management, project management, governance, public administration, public-sector innovation, and citizen-oriented services, in connection with adjacent fields such as information systems, public policy, and public law. 

We invite researchers to submit abstracts for theoretical and/or empirical research applying rigorous qualitative and/or quantitative methods. Published articles are expected to be approximately 8000 words in length.

Topics covered by the Special Issue may include, but are not limited to:

  • State-of-the-art academic thinking about the implications of smart governance in the development of sustainable cities, as well as their relation to the UN SDGs at the local level.
  • Theoretical and empirical analyses of legal issues (data security and privacy) that may affect the adoption of smart governance practices, including recommendations on how to overcome them.
  • Theoretical and practical considerations regarding the diffusion and adoption of ICT in smart cities in economic, social, environmental and institutional dimensions.
  • Case studies on the drivers, barriers, and adoption mechanisms of smart governance practices and infrastructures in sustainable cities in all smart city domains (mobility, energy, buildings, health, etc.).
  • Theoretical and empirical analyses on both the positive outcomes and the possible failures or unintended consequences of smart governance at administrative levels.
  • Development of novel governance or conceptual models towards sustainable city policy and strategy design and implementation, as well as decision-making.
  • Historical and comparative accounts of the development of agile government.
  • Citizen engagement and participation approaches using disruptive technologies towards community smartification.
  • Architectures and solutions for smart governance tools using disruptive technologies that support the development of sustainable cities (e.g., AI-powered smart city services for smart governance and sustainability).


  1. Wu J. Urban sustainability: An inevitable goal of landscape research; Springer: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, 2010.
  2. Misuraca, G.; Lipparini, F.; Pasi, G. Towards Smart Governance: Insights from Assessing ICT-Enabled Social Innovation in Europe. In Smart Cities and Smart Governance; Springer: Cham, Switzerland, 2021; pp. 217–238.
  3. Alexopoulos, C.; Pereira, G.V.; Charalabidis, Y.; Madrid, L. A Taxonomy of Smart Cities Initiatives. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV2019), Melbourne, Australia, 3–5 April 2019; Association for Computing Machinery: New York, NY, USA, 2019; pp. 281–290.
  4. Monzon, A. Smart cities concept and challenges: Bases for the assessment of smart city projects. In Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Smart Cities and Green ICT Systems (SMARTGREENS), Lisbon, Portugal, 20–22 May 2015; IEEE: Piscataway, NJ, USA, 2015; pp. 1–11.
  5. Viale Pereira, G.; Cunha, M.A.; Lampoltshammer, T.J.; Parycek, P.; Testa, M.G. Increasing collaboration and participation in smart city governance: A cross-case analysis of smart city initiatives. Inf. Technol. Dev. 2017, 23, 526–553.
  6. Silva, B.N.; Khan, M.; Han, K. Towards sustainable smart cities: A review of trends, architectures, components, and open challenges in smart cities. Sustain. Cities Soc. 2018, 38, 697–713.
  7. Rizun, N.; Ciesielska, M.; Viale Pereira, G.; Alexopoulos, C.H. Mapping negative unintended consequences of disruptive technologies use in smart cities. ECIS 2021 Res. Pap. 2021.
  8. Viale Pereira, G.; Parycek, P.; Falco, E.; Kleinhans, R.; Chun, S.A.; Adam, N.R.; Noveck, B. Smart governance in the context of smart cities: A literature review. Info. Pol. 2018, 23, 143–162.
  9. Tomor, Z.; Meijer, A.; Michels, A.; Geertman, S. Smart governance for sustainable cities: findings from a systematic literature review. J. Urban Technol. 2019, 26, 3–27.
  10. Estevez, E.; Pardo, T.A.; Scholl, H.J. Smart Cities and Smart Governance; Springer International Publishing: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, 2021.

Leonidas, G. Anthopoulos and Christopher G. Reddick. 2016. Smart City and Smart Government: Synonymous or Complementary? In Proceedings of the 25th International Conference Companion on World Wide Web (WWW '16 Companion). International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee, Republic and Canton of Geneva, CHE, pp. 351–355.

Dr. Charalampos Alexopoulos
Dr. Magdalena Ciesielska
Dr. Gabriela Viale Pereira
Dr. Beatriz Noriega Ortega
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • smart governance
  • sustainable city
  • urban sustainability
  • public policy
  • governance models
  • disruptive technologies
  • diffusion of ICT
  • challenges, barriers and adverse effects
  • citizen participation and trust
  • agile government
  • smart communities
  • decision-making
  • legal frameworks
  • enhancing trust
  • zero-emission smart cities

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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