Smart Community Design and Management: An Exploratory Case Study Research in the Suburban Area of Milan

Nora Giussani

Student thesis: Master thesis


Making cities smarter places is the challenge of the present era. Although the lively debate among policy makers, researchers and business leaders, the risk often encountered by smart city’s projects is the incapability of effectively satisfying the needs of its ultimate stakeholder (i.e. the citizens), and moving towards the development of a smart community. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the smart community concept in real-life situations, by adopting a stakeholder perspective that allows the identification of the main actors and drivers of smart community’s projects and the analysis of the critical issues that must be taken into consideration when launching such initiatives. The research, inspired in its endeavour by a constructivist paradigm, is based on a case-study investigation, and more precisely, on the empirical analysis of My Neighbourhood My City, a European Commission’s project implemented in Quarto Oggiaro (Milan) during the 2013-2015 triennium. Findings revealed that among the stakeholders usually included in a smart community’s project (i.e. the government, the academic world, the ICT-business sector and the local community as the service’s final user), particular attention must be paid on the last one, that should be divided into three further sub-groups of constituents: project’s mediators, promoters and enablers. Indeed, due to the legitimacy and influential power they exercise over the community, they can have a substantial impact on the success of the initiative and on the effective satisfaction of citizens’ needs. Thus, since stakeholder’s relationships do not occur in a vacuum of dyadic ties, but rather in a network of influences, the relevance and the role of each stakeholder must be assessed considering the set of relationships they are remarked of. To conclude, the participative and inclusive approach claimed by some cities when developing smart community’s initiatives should be adopted not only in the services’ design phase but from the very beginning of the project in order to generate an awareness-making process whereby the citizens themselves understand the potentialities of the proposed project and realise how they can contribute

Educations, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages79