Smart city governance

Funding bodies

Urban Europe Joint Funding Initiative, ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities, March 2016-Feb 2019, €1.2 million

The Regional Studies Association, 2016-2019, £10,000


Improving Anticipation and Social Inclusion in Living Labs for Smart City Governance led by Maastricht University, with University of Southern Tession (Bellinzona), University of Graz, Vreije Universieit Brussel. Tassilo Herrschel (Westminster) is part of the Brussels team.

Smart City-Regional Governance for Sustainability Research Network led by Tassilo Herrschel (Westminster), Leibniz Institute of Ecological Regional Development, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and University of Washington.


Improving Anticipation and Social Inclusion in Living Labs for Smart City Governance aims to develop a Smart City Living Lab approach to effectively deal with two major risks to successful, widespread implementation of smart transport technologies.

These two risks concern: (1) unforeseen barriers to large-scale change in socio-technical systems, and (2) the exclusion of social groups not matching the required ‘smart citizen’ profile. This novel, ‘smarter’ approach will be developed, tested and refined by retrospective analysis of urban mobility governance and by action research in Living Lab experiments in the cities of Bellinzona, Brussels, Graz and Maastricht.

The main feature of this approach is to anticipate the two major risks by ex-ante diagnosis, and address these explicitly in the design of the Living Lab experiments to enhance the successful uptake of smart urban mobility innovations.

The Research Network on Smart City-Regional Governance for Sustainability aims to explore the meaning and practice of ‘smartness’ in city-regional governance, as it seeks to balance the competing quests for urban international competitiveness, national economic development and societal and territorial cohesion.

This competition sits under the discursive umbrella of sustainability as the overarching concept guiding this network. Our use of the term sustainability, therefore, signifies its broader conceptual understanding rather than simply its immediate association with ‘environment’. While environment marks an important dimension, other factors – in particular economic development, social and territorial cohesion – will also take a central position in our discussions. Discussions, in particular, will look at the interdependencies between these factors – be they concurrent or conflictual.

Read a good abstract of the JPI Smarter Labs project.

Centre for the Study of Democracy new logo

Research themes

Research in the Centre for the Study of Democracy.

Postgraduate students in the classroom

Research study

Opportunities for doctoral study.