Citizen-Centric Smart Cities: Empowering Public Administration through Social Media and Citizen Engagement

Keywords: smart cities, social media, citizen engagement, public administration, sustainable development


The European Union’s Smart Cities Marketplace fosters multi-stakeholder collaboration to promote smart, sustainable cities. Social media platforms, notably Twitter, are leveraged to engage citizens actively in these urban sustainability initiatives. Despite its potential, social media remains underutilised by public administrations, highlighting the need for a strategic approach to capitalise on its unique characteristics, such as immediate feedback and two-way communication. In recent years, the concept of smart cities has broadened to cover various dimensions, including Smart Economy, Smart Mobility, Smart Environment, Smart People, Smart Living, and Smart Governance, all of which aim to create more sustainable, efficient, and inclusive urban environments. However, fostering citizen participation through digital platforms presents challenges, necessitating accessibility, user-friendliness, and security. This study analysed 3,222 posts from the official Smart Cities Marketplace Twitter page using Fanpagekarma and RStudio. Results indicated varying levels of engagement across the six dimensions, suggesting that strategic content diversification may enhance overall audience engagement. Despite representing a smaller share of total posts, themes like “Smart Economy” and “Smart Environment” showed a higher average level of engagement, while themes like “Smart Mobility” and “Smart Governance”, despite their importance, may not be the primary drivers of audience engagement. This study concludes that a balanced approach towards content dissemination, factoring in various smart city dimensions, can maximise overall audience engagement. It underscores the social media’s transformative potential for dialogue, collaboration, and co-creation in smart city development when strategically utilised.