European Experience Forming a Socio-Political Concept of a Smart City

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2020-64-9-83-95
I. Vasilenko (,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 27, korp. 4, Lomonosovskii Prosp., Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation;
E. Mikhailova (,
Lomonosov Moscow State University, 27, korp. 4, Lomonosovskii Prosp., Moscow, 119991, Russian Federation

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the Autonomous Non-Profit Organization “Expert Institute for Social Research”. Project 19-011-31440 OPN.

Abstract. The article is devoted to a comparative study of three European cities – Barcelona, London and Amsterdam – in forming the socio-political concept of a “smart city”, whereas they have achieved the greatest success in this area in recent years. The criteria for the comparative analysis are: the availability of a range of modern electronic public services; increasing citizens’ participation in politics using digital technology; opportunities, problems and risks in the formation of e-democracy (including cybercrime, the lack of a legal framework that enshrines citizens’ rights to initiatives in electronic decision-making, a high percentage of elderly citizens poorly adapted to new technologies, etc.). The methodology of the research is interdisciplinary: it is conducted at the intersection of political science, communication, sociology, cultural and urban studies. The main challenges and problems of the three cities on their way to “smart city” formation were: aging of the population (the problem of educating senior citizens on digital technologies); the growth of cybercrime (distrust of the digital technology reliability); the lack of a legal framework for the wide use of digital technology in political practice. A critical analysis of the European experience shows that the neglect of challenges and risks, especially of the legislative framework and the fight against cybercrime, initially was the main mistake made when implementing the “smart city” concept. It is shown that the next stage in the development of this concept should be the legislative consolidation of the status of city residents as a subject of politics and management in electronic decision-making.

Keywords: “smart city”, citizen participation, comparative analysis, smart technologies, innovations, political risks


1. Anthopoulos L. Understanding Smart Cities: a Tool for Smart Government or an Industrial Trick? New York, Springer, 2017. 293 p.

2. Greenfield A. Against the Smart City. New York, Do Projects, 2013. 153 p.

3. Townsend A. Smart ities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 2013. 416 p.

4. Deakin M. Smart Cities: Governing, Modelling and Analysing the Transition. London, Routledge, 2013. 248 p.

5. Barlow M., Levy-Bencheton C. Smart Cities, Smart Future: Showcasing Tomorrow. New York, Wiley, 2018. 336 p.

6. Cohen B. The 3 Generations of Smart Cities Inside the Development of the Technology Driven City. FastCompany. Available at: (accessed 17.09.2019).

7. Digital Economy and Society Statistics – Households and Individuals. Eurostat. Available at: (accessed 20.09.2019).

8. Ninth Annual Cost of Cybercrime Study. Accenture. March 6, 2019. Available at: (accessed 25.09.2019).

9. Smart Cities: Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities of Smart Cities. Smart Cities World. Available at: (accessed 15.09.2019).

10. Ravindra S. The Transformation that Barcelona Had Undergone to Become a Smart City. Barsinno. July 5, 2018. Available at: (accessed 22.09.2019).

11. Barcelona Cybersecurity Congress 2019: Some Key Takeaways. Blueliv. Available at: (accessed 12.10.2019).

12. Cybersecurity Conferences in Barcelona. Available at: (accessed 12.10.2019).

13. Riera A., Cervello G. Experimentation on Secure Internet Voting in Spain. Available at: (accessed 22.09.2019).

14. Smarter London Together. Mayor of London. Available at: (accessed 17.09.2019).

15. Wakefield J. E-Voting by Touch-Screen Trialled in Local Elections. BBC News, 02.05.2019. Available at: (accessed 12.10.2019).

16. CGI Wins Prestigious Contract to Deliver Electronic Vote Counting Solution for 2020 London Elections. CGI. Available at: (accessed 12.10.2019).

17. Hern A. Should Britain Introduce Electronic Voting? The Guardian, 26.02.2015. Available at: (accessed 12.09.2019).

18. Amsterdam Smart City: a World Leader in Smart City Development. Bee Smart City, December 10, 2017. Available at: (accessed 10.09.2019).

19. Jacobs B., Pieters W. Electronic Voting in the Netherlands: from Early Adoption to Early Abolishment. Available at: (accessed 17.09.2019).

20. Vottsel’ D., Kuznetsova E. Tekhnologii umnykh gorodov: chto vliyaet na vybor gorozhan? [Smart ity Technologies: What Affects the Choice of Citizens?] McKinsey Center for Government. July 2018. Available at: (accessed 17.09.2019).

21. European Union Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities. European Commission. Available at: (accessed 22.09.2019).

22. British Standard Institution (BSI). ISO. Available at: (accessed 17.09.2019).

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Vasilenko I., Mikhailova E. European Experience Forming a Socio-Political Concept of a Smart City. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2020, vol. 64, no. 9, pp. 83-95.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 7
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • The Supporting Structure of Global Security
  • Institutional Features of the Fourth Energy Transition
  • The Evolution of Modern German Christian Democracy
  • The Monarchies of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.