Managed Participation: Public Governance, Local Communities and the Smart City

Type Research Project

Funding Bodies
  • Jubilee Fund of the City of Vienna for the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration

Duration Oct. 1, 2016 - Sept. 30, 2017

  • Institute for Social Change and Sustainability IN (Details)


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  • Blühdorn, Ingolfur (Details) Project Head
  • Butzlaff, Felix (Details)

Abstract (English)

It has been accepted that sustainability requires comprehensive societal change; at the same time we see reluctance to diverge from established lifestyles and social practices. Demands for (more) democratic mechanisms are increasing at the same time as scepticism towards democratic institutions and processes. Sustainability crises trigger top-down action and exceptional uses of power, while concern rises about the possibility of authoritarian interventions into private lives. Urban local communities are envisioned as promising spaces for sustainability-related innovation, while at the same time social networks and lifestyles become more mobile and transnational.
The smart city serves as a social laboratory to synthesize these conflicting trends, but how can the norm of expert-based top-down public management and the democratic demands of local communities be amalgamated into something like managed participation? What are the implications for the achievability of a sustainability transformation?