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How are citizens involved in smart cities? Analysing citizen participation in Japanese ``Smart Communities''

Abstract : In recent years, ``smart cities'' have rapidly increased in discourses as well as in their real number, and raise various issues. While citizen engagement is a key element of most definitions of smart cities, information and communication technologies (ICTs) would also have great potential for facilitating public participation. However, scholars have highlighted that little research has focused on actual practices of citizen involvement in smart cities so far. In this respect, the authors analyse public participation in Japanese ``Smart Communities'', paying attention to both official discourses and actual practices. Smart Communities were selected in 2010 by the Japanese government which defines them as ``smart city'' projects and imposed criteria such as focus on energy issues, participation and lifestyle innovation. Drawing on analysis of official documents as well as on interviews with each of the four Smart Communities' stakeholders, the paper explains that very little input is expected from Japanese citizens. Instead, ICTs are used by municipalities and electric utilities to steer project participants and to change their behaviour. The objective of Smart Communities would not be to involve citizens in city governance, but rather to make them participate in the co-production of public services, mainly energy production and distribution.
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Contributor : Benoit Granier <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 5, 2017 - 5:10:09 PM
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Benoît Granier, Hiroko Kudo. How are citizens involved in smart cities? Analysing citizen participation in Japanese ``Smart Communities''. Information Polity, IOS Press, 2015, ⟨10.3233/IP-150367⟩. ⟨halshs-01533076⟩



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