Type of project

CIP – ICT-PSP 2010
Pilot Type B

Project coordinator

Manchester City Council

Contact person

Dave Carter
Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA)
Manchester City Council
117-119 Portland Street
M1 6ED
Tel. +44 161 241 8200
Fax +44 161 236 2849

Project website

Information Society and Media DG unit responsible

F – New Infrastructure Paradigms and Experimental Facilities

Community contribution to the project

2.2 EUR million

Project start date

November 1st 2010


30 months

Smart Metropolitan Areas Realised Through Innovation & People

Scope and objectives

The SMARTiP project is focusing on the challenge of transforming public services by empowering ‘smart citizens’ who are able to use and co-produce innovative Internet-enabled services within emerging ‘smart’ cities. The project aims to take the experience developed by a wide range of existing user-driven, open innovation initiatives in Europe, particularly those developed through Living Labs, and to apply this experience to engaging citizens as active co-producers of public services.

The aim is to enable to adoption of open platforms for the co-production of citizen-centric Internet-enabled services in five test-bed sites, Manchester, Gent, Cologne, Bologna and Oulu. The objective is to enhance the ability of the cities to grow and sustain a ‘smart city’ ecosystem which can support new opportunities emerging for a dynamic co-production process resulting in more inclusive, higher quality and efficient public services which can then be made replicable and scalable for cross-border deployment on a larger scale.

This will focus on a series of pilot projects covering three thematic areas:

  • Smart engagement
  • Smart environments
  • Smart mobility

The pilots aim to act as a catalyst to stimulate citizen engagement in becoming active generators of content and applications development, as well as being more informed and involved users of the developing Internet-enabled services in ‘smart’ cities.

Chosen approach

‘Smart cities’ require ‘smart citizens’ if they are to be truly inclusive, innovative and sustainable. The promise of the information society, to create new ways of empowering people to play a fuller and more equal role in emerging governance systems through their access to dynamic Internet-enabled services, is also proving to be its biggest challenge, as not everyone is getting equal access to the skills and opportunities that are supposed to be there. Many previous initiatives, particularly those focusing on e-government and e-inclusion, have tackled the ‘digital divide’ only to find that the persistent inequalities blighting many urban neighbourhoods mitigate against citizen empowerment and participation within the information society. SMARTiP aims to go a stage further and identify innovative but sustainable ways of building the capacity of citizens and public services to work together with innovators and digital developers to co-produce future internet enabled services on the basis of the widest possible digital inclusion.

In order to achieve this new approaches are required in which the focus is first and foremost on citizen empowerment as an essential catalyst in creating a new paradigm to transform the dynamics of data flows, management and service development. The potential of new bottom up approaches based on user-generated content, social media and Web 2.0 applications opens up possibilities for a new interpretation and understanding of spatial inequalities and neighbourhood effects, seen through the experiences of the citizens themselves, leading to new forms of empowerment for those citizens. This would enable citizens to build the social capital and capacity required to become co-creators and co-producers of new and innovative services with the means to ensure that they are delivered in more effective and inclusive ways, taking full advantage of new Internet-based technologies and applications.

‘Co-production’ as a concept emerged some four decades ago but it is now developing into a practical agenda for system change which can be seen to be closely allied with the concept of ‘co-creation’ in the methodology of open innovation. ‘Co-production’ has emerged both as a “critique of the way that professionals and users have been artificially divided” and as a new way for citizens “to share in the design and delivery of services, and contribute their own wisdom and experience, in ways that can broaden and strengthen services and make them more effective”. It is based on four key principles: Recognizing people as assets; Valuing work differently; Promoting reciprocity; Building social networks.

Target outcomes and benefits

Internet-based technologies and services provide new opportunities for stimulating co-production while, at the same time, co-production provides new opportunities for securing citizens’ engagement and active involvement in the process of developing ‘smart services’ which, in turn, can help to accelerate the uptake of these technologies and services. This ‘virtuous circle’ is then capable of enhancing cities’ ability to grow and sustain ‘innovation ecosystems’ and, through this, to develop more inclusive, higher quality and efficient services which are then capable of being replicable and scalable for wider cross-border deployment on a much larger scale. The project will deploy currently available Internet-based technologies and services to develop a series of pilot projects, initially focusing on the following areas:

  • Smart engagement: stimulating citizen engagement with analyzing and implementing data which is generated both from institutions, e.g. through commitments to ‘Open Data’  and by citizens themselves, which can then be visualized in ways which can support participatory planning, including around budgeting and financial issues, for smart communities and smart services;
  • Smart environments: engaging citizens in monitoring and action to support the co-production of environmental services, including air quality, open spaces, waste management and improved built environments;
  • Smart mobility: supporting citizen monitoring of personal travel routes using public and private transport, cycling and walking with the aggregation and analysis of data to support smart mobility planning for individuals, social groups and institutions.

The idea is that the pilot projects will demonstrate how the wider deployment of Future Internet-based technologies and services, based on linking together networked objects (the ‘Internet of Things’) and web-centric systems (Web 2.0 and beyond) can be enhanced through co-production and, in turn, provide new and more innovative approaches to bring together both the e-government and e-inclusion agendas with the Future Internet agenda to tackle these inter-connected policy agendas in a more holistic way. The added value for the users is that they have a real incentive to become more involved as co-producers, as well as users, of the content and services available in the emerging smart cities through having access to new skills, employment possibilities and quality of life. It is this which can then make these approaches more sustainable, by embedding the pro-active involvement of citizens in all aspects of designing and delivering services and thus providing both citizens and the public authorities responsible for providing these services with a new rationale to make the PPPP – Public-Private-People Partnership – approach viable and desirable.

The project will be working to support the Smart Cities Portfolio Working Group at all levels, including with the SMARTiP Coordinator, Dave Carter from the City of Manchester, who has been been elected as the Working Chair. SMARTiP is committed to collaborative work through the Portfolio as this brings together the ‘networked Living Labs approach’ with the strategic approach of the emerging Smart Cities network. SMARTiP will be working to ensure that this works both at the highest level, with the leadership (politicians and management) of cities, and through the grass roots approach of citizens empowerment and social movements, enhancing social capital through ‘smart citizens’.


The SMARTiP Consortium is made up of 13 core partners representing five EU member states and including five cities: Manchester, Cologne, Bologna, Ghent and Oulu (working with the University of Oulu). The partners bring significant expertise on open innovation, Living Labs and the development of ‘smart city’ services, including on Web 2.0 social media, citizens engagement and the social economy. The partner cities are all members of the Eurocities network and the project will work in partnership with Eurocities to maximize the impact of the project and the use of its results, including the reuse of pilot services in real-life ‘test bed’ projects in other partner cities.

Participant organisation name Country
Manchester City Council (Coordinator) UK
City of Cologne Germany
City of Bologna Italy
Regione Emilia Romagna Italy
Engineering Italy
IBBT Belgium
City of Ghent Belgium
Digipolis Belgium
Alcatel Lucent Belgium
University of Oulu Finland
Peoples Voice Media UK
University of Manchester UK
European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) Belgium