Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Civic Engagement in a Citizen-Led Living Lab for Smart Cities: Evidence From South Korea

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Abstract:  Smart cities have emerged in the hope of solving growing urban problems. In addition, unlike past citizen participation in tokenism, new technologies in smart cities have shed light on creating cities with high levels of civic engagement. However, contrary to expectations, technology-centric smart city development has resulted in a lack of opportunities for citizen participation. Consequently, smart cities are increasingly adopting a citizen-centric living lab methodology. Previous research on living labs has emphasized the significance of civic engagement and the potential as a collaborative platform for governments, businesses, and citizens. However, keeping individuals engaged and motivated during the living lab process might be challenging. This study examined the significance of citizens’ active participation and determined the elements that influence the level of participation in a living lab. In this study, the first citizen-led living laboratory in South Korea was selected as the subject of a case study. An empirical analytic approach was adopted and a survey was conducted among living lab participants regarding their level of participation and the sociocultural elements that may impact it. Our findings revealed that living lab activities were associated with enhanced civic self-esteem and positive attitudes toward smart cities. Moreover, they display the socioeconomic elements that influence the degree of participation. This study offers evidence that living lab activities encourage citizen engagement by giving participants a sense of empowerment during the co-creation process with multiple stakeholders, boosting civic competency through learning activities, and improving a sense of community ownership.

Keywords:  civic engagement; living labs; participatory approach; smart city; urban planning

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/up.v8i2.6361


© Jooho Park, Sayaka Fujii. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.