Sub-theme 48: Smart and Livable Cities: Urban Governance, Management & Professional or Commercialized Expertise ---> MERGED with sub-theme 43

Karl-Heinz Pogner
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Gianluca Miscione
University College Dublin, Ireland
Staffan Axel Furusten
Stockholm University & Score, Sweden

Call for Papers

Leading Cities and City Leaders – for example, please see:,,, –, especially “global cities” (Sassen 2001), have taken up the challenge formulated by the World Economic Forum: “what if cities would rule the world?” [], when it comes to governing, managing and leading their cities and co-creating livable cities to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially “Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” [].
The discourse about how to rule, manage, govern and lead a city can be dived into two competing discourse streams. The first one (about social and technical engineering and Smart Cities) is very prominent in the mass media discourse and in PR/PA of tech companies and in tech communities. Whereas the second one (about participation, involvement, co-creation, co-housing and Livable Cities) is mostly enacted in social media platforms, virtual communities, but also in local or regional social and cultural initiatives, movements, and in new forms of urban governance of municipal administrations. Both streams struggle for getting a voice in the discourses as well as in mediascapes.
Technology, planning, and urban architecture have always been intertwined in allowing and limiting both what can be controlled and what self-organizes and emerges in cities. Urban and regional planning are more and more enabled and constrained by information technologies and the narratives they become wrapped in. “Smart Cities” and “Livable Cities” make no exception since at least two distinct narratives polarize opinions and debates: one is derived from spatial data infrastructures; the other emerges from participation and user- generated content. “Smart Cities” seem to be leaning toward the former narrative. However, grass-root movements can be quite forceful in using alternative narratives and in deploying technologies and open data accordingly – moving it towards the “Livable Cities” and hereby the latter narrative.
Smart Cities, Internet of Things, Big Data and Cloud Computing have been introduced almost as panaceas in urban planning and development (for shortcomings of this perspective, see Kitchin’s critical studies; e.g. Kitchin, 2014). Studies have related them to political, social and economic agendas that prioritize innovation-driven economies. However, only few of the studies connect them with “open-data” policies (Mulder, 2015) – in order to address the most urgent problems and challenges in terms of envisioning and implementing new business models and participatory citizenship. Also on this field, cities have taken the lead (Taylor, 2005). They are becoming leading living laboratories towards sustainability, social innovation, and inclusion via participative, open and accountable spaces (Tsakarestou & Pogner, 2014).
Cities as ecosystems (Schaffers et al,. 2011) are emerging and developing in the context of global economy and new forms of organizing “without organizations”, i.e. in self-organized networks (Shirky, 2011). In these self-organized networks, new forms of power relations and leadership, including “Circuits of Power” (Clegg, 2014), “Distributed Leadership” (Bolden, 2011) and “Relational Leadership” (Uhl-Bien & Ospina, 2012) emerge.

  • ‘Distributed Leadership’ closely relates to concepts such as shared, collective, collaborative and democratic leadership: “‘leadership’ is conceived of as a collective social process emerging through the interactions of multiple actors (Uhl-Bien 2006)” (Bolden 2011: 251).

  • ‘Urban Development’ and its management are closely related to an understanding of leadership as social processes emerging through the interactions of multiple actors.

  • ‘Relational Leadership’ and distributed leadership open up for self-organizing, thereby creating new opportunities in the way citizens are empowered when designing and co-creating their cities of today and tomorrow.

In parallel, there is a search for new public governance and public innovation approaches assembled by co-creative practices (Sørensen & Torfing, 2018; Torfing & Triantafillou, 2016). These approaches are often inspired by leadership concepts where governance is seen as some kind of participatory democracy in democratic governance networks (Sørensen & Torfing, 2008).
Urban research has also investigated avenues through which culture and creativity can raise the imaginative capability of citizens and harness opportunities tied to culture-driven growth. The success of co-creating urban strategies within and between the public sector, institutions, city administrations, political bodies, business, the civil society and not least the citizens are dependent on a synthesis of bottom-up and top-down activities in “action nets” (Czarniawska, 2014). This calls for a holistic approach that has the potential to foster involvement, to embrace both diversity and equality in communities and cities, and to cross institutional borders, e.g. by linking arts and other creative initiatives to co-creation (Wåhlin et al., 2016).
This sub-theme continues the conversation started in Tallinn with our sub-theme “Smart and Livable Cities” at the EGOS Colloquium 2018. It is aiming at investigating the affordances, potentials, and limitations of urban governance when it comes to the responsibility of cities as organizations in leading towards a healthier, more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable agenda which improves strategies (Brandtner et al., 2017) for the future. Hence, we invite empirical papers as well theoretical papers investigating the role of all types of stakeholders (private, public, NGOs, partnerships, co-operations, movements – and citizens) when it comes to developing and enacting smart and livable cities in order to reach the sustainable development goals.
Papers may address, but are not limited to, research on the following themes and topics:

  • Urban governance, management, leadership and strategy in discourse, narration and action

  • Lessons from New Public Management (NPM) and New Public Governance (NPG)

  • Cities and institutions, meta-organizations and inter-organizational systems and networks

  • Public and private innovation in the city

  • Urban architecture, design, planning, co-creation and innovation

  • Co-organizing and co-creating urban space, co-producing city development

  • Values in urban environments

  • The role of urban social movements



  • Bolden, R. (2011): “Distributed Leadership in Organizations:A Review of Theory and Research.” International Journal of Management Reviews, 13 (3), 251–269.
  • Brandtner, C., Höllerer, M.A., Meyer, R.E., & Kornberger, M. (2017): “Enacting governance through strategy: A comparative study of governance configurations in Sydney and Vienna.” Urban Studies, 54 (5), 1075–1091.
  • Clegg, S. (2014): “Circuits of Power/Knowledge.” Journal of Political Power, 7 (3), 383–392.
  • Czarniawska, B. (2014): A Theory of Organizing. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Kitchin, R. (2015): “Making sense of smart cities: Addressing present shortcomings.” Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 8 (1), 131–136.
  • Mulder, I. (2015): “Opening Up: Towards a Sociable Smart City.” In: M. Foth, M.Brynskov & T. Ojala (eds.): Citizen’s Right to the Digital City. Urban Interfaces, Activism, and Placemaking. Berlin: Springer, 161–173.
  • Sassen, S. (2001): The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Schaffers, H., Komninos, N., Pallot, M., Trousse, B., Nilsson, M., & Oliveira, A. (2011): “Smart Cities and the Future Internet: Towards Cooperation Frameworks for Open Innovation.” In: J. Domingue et al. (eds.): The Future Internet. FIA 2011. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 6656. Berlin: Springer, 431–446.
  • Shirky, C. (2011): Cognitive Surplus. Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. New York: Penguin.
  • Sørensen, E., & Torfing, J. (2008): Theories of Democratic Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Sørensen, E., & Torfing, J. (2018): “Co-initiation of collaborativeinnovation in urban spaces.” Urban Affairs Review, 54 (2), 388–418.
  • Taylor, P.J. (2005): “Leading world cities: Empirical evaluations of urban nodes in multiple networks.” Urban Studies, 42 (9), 1593–1608.
  • Torfing, J., & Triantafillou, P. (eds.) (2016): Enhancing Public Innovation by Public Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Tsakarestou, B., & Pogner, K.-H. (2014): Cities as Platforms for Co-creating Experience-based Business and Social Innovations. An Experimental Approach. IKL/ICM-Working Paper 2014, 1. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School.
  • Uhl-Bien, M., & Ospina, S.M. (eds.) (2012): Advancing Relational Leadership Research. A Dialogue among Perspectives. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
  • Wåhlin, N., Kapsali, M., Näsholm, M.H., & Blomquist, T. (2016): Urban Strategies for Culture-Driven Growth. Co-Creating a European Capital of Culture. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
Karl-Heinz Pogner is an Associate Professor at the Department of Management, Society, and Communication, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. His primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of academic literacy, text production in the professions, organizational communication, sustainable and responsible communication, communication ethics, co-creation and urban governance.
Gianluca Miscione is an Assistant Professor at the School of Business of the University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. His research focuses on the interplay between technologies and organizing processes with a specific interest on innovation, development, organizational change, social networks, trust and social capital. He has been conducting and contributing to research in Europe, Latin America, India, East Africa, and on the Internet, mainly in the domains of urban planning, health care, and currencies.
Staffan Axel Furusten is Professor in Organization, Management and Society at Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University, Sweden, he is also the Director of Score (Stockholm Centre for Organizational Research). Staffan’s main research is on the production, diffusion and consumption of management knowledge, fashions, standards and the organization of professionalism and commercialism in the field of management expertise. He is also interested in public procurement of external experts and the use of management expertise in the public sector.