University of Twente Student Theses


Dynamic roles in smart city development

Nijman, Hanke (2014) Dynamic roles in smart city development.

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Abstract:The smart city can be understood as a city in which information and communication technologies are applied to improve quality of life, taking into account the social, cultural, economic and political processes that take place within the city. Several scholars have called for ‘including people’ in the development of smart cities, but do not address which people and in what role to include them. Smart cities applications are developed within specific projects. Within smart city projects the distinctions between design & use and between government & citizen are blurring. Because of these blurring boundaries the roles of actors within smart city projects change. Therefore the following research question is addressed within this thesis: How are roles of actors in specific smart city projects shaped within project dynamics, and how do these roles in turn influence the project dynamics? In this thesis smart cities are conceptualized as a socio-technical system which can be studied from an STS perspective. The theoretical framework builds upon actor-network theory and is extended with role theory to be able to address the different roles within project dynamics. A new framework has been developed to describe the dynamics between roles and human and technological actors in smart city projects, using the concepts of configuration, appropriation and translation. This framework has been used to analyze the roles and project dynamics within two case studies. Within these cases several new roles were negotiated and several factors that were important in the project dynamics were identified. For each case study an overview of these roles is presented and several aspects that are of importance in the mutual shaping of roles and project dynamics are identified. In conclusion, the mutual shaping of roles and project dynamics can be described by three separate dynamics. The first discusses roles and project dynamics related to the blurring boundaries between citizen and government. The second is related to the blurring boundaries between design & use. The last aspects are related to the project process. These conclusions are translated into six lessons for dealing with these blurring boundaries when setting up smart city projects.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
TNO, the Netherlands
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:01 general works
Programme:Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society MSc (60024)
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