The Enabling Effects of Open Government Data on Collaborative Governance in Smart City Contexts

Martin Bartenberger, Verena Grubmüller


The term "smart city" has been strongly promoted since the late 1990s, yet its concrete meaning remains blurry. In this article, we shed light on two elements that many “smart cities” claim to pursue: open data and collaborative/participatory governance. Notably, we investigate whether smart city models that are based on an open data approach constitute a suitable environment for collaborative governance processes. Therefore, we introduce a comprehensive model of collaborative governance which allows us to derive theoretical assumptions regarding the influence of open data on collaborative processes in a smart city context. Based on a case study model, we try to find empirical evidence for our assumptions in three cities. However, only minor evidence for an existing influence can be found, which we explain with insufficient understanding about the potentials of open data and therefore lacking strategies how to use them for fostering collaborative processes.


Smart city governance, collaborative governance, participation, open government data, city case study, Chicago, Barcelona, Hong Kong

Full Text: