E-Participation - A Key Factor In Developing Smart Cities

AuthorCatalin Vrabie, Andreea-Maria Tîrziu
The European Citizen and Public Administration
The European Citizen and Public Administration
E-participation a Key Factor in Developing Smart Cities
Cătălin I. Vrabie1, Andreea-Maria Tîrziu2
Abstract: A main feature of smart cities is the use of ICT in all aspects of city life. In th is regard, e-
participation is a core element in the process of developing communities ruled by socially inclusive
governance. Objectives: This paper aims to present a framework on how e-participation can be inclusive and
how it might bring citizens closer to the idea of living in a smart city, by giving European reality examples
regarding this co ncept. Prior Work: It shows the literature that concentrates on e-participation, focusing on
citizens’ needs and requirements. Approach: The main methods employed for this research were some case
studies on European examples of e-participation. Results: This type of participatory relationship is starting to
transform all public institutions, changing their culture from one control-based to one performance-
centered. ICT is starting to play an important role in smart cities’ evolution and it brings an improvement in
the government-citizens relationship. Value: We have identified that although technology is a main e-
participation element, there should also be considered the capability and willingness of citizens and public
institutions to collaborate, not only by electronic means, but also through traditional ways of participating in
the process of taking decisions.
Keywords: e-participation; smart cities; inclusive relationship; public sector; technological development
1. Introduction
A smart city should be understood far beyond the use of ICT, it being more than just a simple city
which makes use of modern digital technologies. We should therefore understand that giving citizens
the possibility to participate online in the city’s managing activities is an important element of what
makes a city smart, not only from a technological point of view, but mainly because this type of city
listens and tries to meet the needs and requirements of the individuals that are living in that particular
place. In this paper, though, we will mainly focus on the technological development which has led, in
the last decades, to changes in all aspects of city life. Information and Communication Technologies
have transformed even the way individuals understand democracy. Now, we also speak about e -
democracy which, through its main pilots, e-participation is also included. This refers to citizen
participation and the appropriate technology that supports it. The use of ICT in this context allows
more citizens to be participatory actors in the democratic debate, in an online environment, thus the
contributions having the possibility to become deeper and wider (Macintosh, 2004, pp. 1-2).
1Senior Lecturer, PhD, National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania,
+40723.689.314, Corresponding author: cataloi@yahoo.com.
2 PhD Candidate, National University of Political S tudies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania, +40723.216.730,
E-mail: tirziu.andreea@yahoo.com.

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