The Smart City Institute is proud to announce the publication of a new scientific paper by Jonathan Desdemoustier (researcher for the SCI until February 2019), in collaboration with Prof. Nathalie Crutzen (Academic Director of the SCI), Mario Cools (University of Liège – ULiège, ArGEnCo Department, Transport and Mobility) and Jacques Teller (University of Liège – ULiège, ArGEnCo Department, Urban Planning and Spatial Planning).


The Smart City became a dominant discourse as a new approach to mitigate and remedy to current urban and societal problems. Numerous cities are engaged in a Smart City process to address their local challenges. But different actor’s appropriations and styles of implementation produce particular territorial and societal developments. This paper questions in an innovative way the actors’ appropriation of the Smart City: the phenomenon is considered as an instrument, following the theory of Lascoumes and Le Galès (2007). On basis of an online survey with 193 Belgian respondents, the results of several statistical treatments validate an appropriation of the Smart City between a public policy instrument in one side and a functional instrument in the other side. But across the five categories of actors (Elected politician (1), administrations and public organizations (2), private companies (3), research centers & universities (4) and associations (5)), the Belgian respondents do not fit into one or the other instrument in a monolithic way. The actor’s appropriation does not follow a homogeneous trend based on a technical and holistic direction, like it is represented in the literature.

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