Opening up smart cities: Citizen-centric challenges and opportunities from GIScience

Auriol Degbelo*, Carlos Granell, Sergio Trilles, Devanjan Bhattacharya, Sven Casteleyn, Christian Kray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The holy grail of smart cities is an integrated, sustainable approach to improve the efficiency of the city's operations and the quality of life of citizens. At the heart of this vision is the citizen, who is the primary beneficiary of smart city initiatives, either directly or indirectly. Despite the recent surge of research and smart cities initiatives in practice, there are still a number of challenges to overcome in realizing this vision. This position paper points out six citizen-related challenges: the engagement of citizens, the improvement of citizens' data literacy, the pairing of quantitative and qualitative data, the need for open standards, the development of personal services, and the development of persuasive interfaces. The article furthermore advocates the use of methods and techniques from GIScience to tackle these challenges, and presents the concept of an Open City Toolkit as a way of transferring insights and solutions from GIScience to smart cities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2016


  • citizen participation
  • citizen-centric challenges
  • GIScience
  • maps
  • open data
  • smart cities


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