Crowdsourcing Urban Sustainability Governance

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= CROWD_USG is een EU-gefinancierd onderzoeksproject gevoerd door het Centrum voor Duurzame Ontwikkeling, UGent

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"How can crowdsourcing processes affect the governance of urban sustainability?

This is the key question CROWD_USG project focuses on.

In the recent decades cities attracted scholars and practitioners’ interest as the appropriate space for experimenting innovative strategies for urban sustainability governance, which requires a balance between environmental protection measures, social cohesion and the provision of democracy. Special attention is now devoted to the adoption of participatory approaches, and the interactive web has been often welcomed as a shortcut toward the democratisation of governance processes.

Particularly, crowdsourcing can impact on traditional governance model by reviewing the mode of interaction between governing bodies, research institutions, business and social actors. This can generate citywide technological leap-frogging and community-based decentralised knowledge and policy production systems; and can lead to the attainment of sustainability goals by fuelling the integration of environmental, social and economic priorities in the urban governance agenda

Sitting on the critical geography tradition, CROWD_USG uses Actor-Network Theory and Scenario Building for modeling current material-semiotic fluxes in USG; and for prefiguring future social, political and economic development determined by the introduction of crowdsourcing processes.

CROWD_USG project envisages:

  • the exploration of current knowledge on the adoption of crowdsourcing processes for fuelling participatory governance processes and dealing with urban sustainability issues;
  • the data collection and analysis of forefront applications in the city of Ghent, Belgium;
  • the analysis of how technological agency can transform knowledge production and decision-making processes.

CROWD_USG is hosted by the Centre for Sustainable Development (CDO) at Ghent University."


"Crowdsourcing Urban Sustainability Governance. Exploring innovative governance models for addressing urban sustainability through ICT-people interaction.

The project explores the potential of crowdsourcing (an online, distributed problem-solving process for creative solutions development) to advance innovative urban sustainability governance (USG) models. It is intended to investigate whether and how crowdsourcing can be appropriate for: - dealing with the mutable, multi-scalar and complex character of urban sustainability (including environmental protection and democracy provisions); - activating real participatory processes… " (