Crowdsourcing and Living Labs in Support of Smart Cities' Development

Crowdsourcing and Living Labs in Support of Smart Cities' Development

Chrysaida-Aliki Papadopoulou, Maria Giaoutzi
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7030-1.ch029
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The concept of ‘smart cities' has quite recently stimulated an alternative way of approaching urban sustainability through the extensive adoption of ICTs, harmoniously combined with human capital and city's potential in order new patterns of urban development to be generated. Crowdsourcing and living labs serve the goal of being ‘smart' by promoting the establishment of broad cooperative schemes for prototypical ideas generation and innovation production. The present paper focuses on exploring the contribution of crowdsourcing and living labs to smart cities' development. In the first part, the backbone of a smart city is presented; in the second part, a methodological approach integrating smart cities' development with crowdsourcing and living labs is elaborated; in the third part, the role of crowdsourcing in generating prototypical ideas is described; in the fourth part, the potential evaluation and implementation of such ideas in a living lab environment is examined; and finally, some conclusions are drawn.
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During the last decades, new urban trends and lifestyles have been established in the context of the modern technology-driven globalized socio-economic reality. Urban environment, city functions and citizens are gradually adapted to alternative ‘novel’ patterns of urban development ‘imposed’ by the new digital era. The extensive adoption and exploitation of ICT-applications is strongly related to the intense urbanization and the increased needs arising due to the high concentrations of population in urban and metropolitan areas (Graham, 2002) while “…their (ICTs’) production and use have important effects on the development of economic, social and environmental areas…” (Caperna, 2010, p. 340). Moreover, “the information technology revolution…” penetrates “…the whole realm of human activity” (Castells, 2010, p. 5) setting thus a new way of approaching issues concerning urban sustainability and city-functioning.

In this framework, the concept of smart city has emerged, reflecting on the one hand the integration of ICTs within city functions and infrastructures and on the other hand the expectation for the ubiquitous embodiment of intelligence ‘everywhere’ and into ‘everything’ in the city. Apart from technology, city innovation in a managerial and policy making level is also of utmost importance for a city aspiring to be ‘smart’ (Nam & Pardo, 2011). In parallel, the process of transforming an ‘ordinary’ city into a ‘smart’ city represents a kind of “strategy to mitigate the problems generated by the urban population growth and rapid urbanization” (Chourabi et al., 2012, p. 2289). As a result, smart solutions are sought for several sectors (transportation system, waste disposal, governance, economic efficiency, etc.) in order quality of life to be upgraded and new perspectives for the city’s future development to be revealed. In this context, citizens are placed at the center of the aforementioned efforts, through extensive participation and creation of collaborative schemes, as smart cities generally, constitute urban environments where ICT-based technologies and infrastructures are intelligently combined with human capital, investments, natural and cultural resources, for the creation of new forms of urban development.

Crowdsourcing and living labs constitute two modern approaches, boosting the establishment of broad cooperative / co-creative forms in a city, which will contribute to the creation of innovative ideas / solutions and the achievement of a common end. Crowdsourcing focuses on the generation of innovative ideas / solutions / content / services while, living labs enable mass integration and inclusion of end-users during the research and innovation process. Both are promoting collaboration among stakeholders, public administration, private institutions, universities and end-users in the context of the ‘4Ps’ model (Public-Private-People-Partnership).

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