Go to main content

FCDO ODA allocations for 2021/22 were announced on 21 April 2021. Changes to individual programmes are underway. The information on this website may not reflect the latest allocated budgets for this year. This information will be updated in due course.

  1. Home
  2. Global
  3. Empowering Citizen-Oriented Smart City Innovation in Mexico (ECOSCIM)

UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Empowering Citizen-Oriented Smart City Innovation in Mexico (ECOSCIM)

Disclaimer: The data for this page has been produced from IATI data published by UK - Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Please contact them (Show Email Address) if you have any questions about their data.

Project Data Last Updated: 27/08/2020

IATI Identifier: GB-GOV-13-FUND--Newton-ES_S006710_1


The term "Smart City" is currently used all over the world to talk about urban futures. It can mean lots of different things. But it often means using digital technologies to help manage cities more efficiently. For example, this type of technology can help manage traffic flows or pollution. Smart City innovation can be about efficient city management, but it can also open up new opportunities for citizens to participate in the governance of their cities. There is currently a debate about whose interests are served by the Smart City, and whose interests should be served. Are there people who are disadvantaged or excluded by smart urbanism? If so, then how can we stop that from happening? Smart City innovation spends too much time focusing on management and engineering challenges - getting the technology to work - and not enough time thinking about where smart urbanism might be taking us. We need to think more about the opportunities, risks and vulnerabilities created by increasing reliance on digital technology. This project will develop a new method to help the Smart City innovation process. It will do this by working with citizens, community groups and policy makers in Mexico City. The project is seeking to make sure that innovation is oriented towards citizens' priorities and interests: the development process should be forward-looking, integrated, inclusive and equitable. The project will also examine the social and political organisations and institutions that Smart City projects need to interact with in order to understand how this broader context can act to enable or frustrate citizen-oriented projects. The project will achieve its objectives by looking at the stages of Smart City development: anticipation and conception; development and implementation; and operation. It will carry out case studies of existing projects planned and in operation in Mexico City. These will help us understand, first, how the planning process for these projects measures up against our new framework and, second, whether the way they operate is inclusive and socially equitable. The project will interview users and non-users of the Smart City projects and those involved in running the projects. Our researchers will also interview people from different sectors who are involved in Smart City policy and practice to understand the barriers and enablers to effective innovation in Mexico City. We will then work with citizens to discuss what they would like Smart City futures to look like. This will be done through a series of workshops. These workshops will lead to a process of Smart City development: we will work with a smaller group of citizens to co-create the concept for a new Smart City innovation. The final part of the research will discuss this idea for a new innovation, along with the information about barriers and enablers to innovation, with policy makers to see how the whole system might be changed to make it more welcoming to citizen-oriented innovation. Each stage of the project will produce a report and a short briefing document. These will be made available through the project website. We will publish updates on what we are learning from the project as we go along. At the end of the project we will produce a report giving an overview of the whole project and write academic articles. Finally, we will use all the learning from the project to collaboratively produce a toolkit designed to help citizens and communities think about the issues associated with Smart Cities and to help them carry out a more effective process of Smart City innovation. The project will help to promote citizen welfare and effective urban governance in Mexico. In particular, its emphasis on co-creation and inclusion will enhance citizen autonomy and well-being. It will do so by drawing on the unique combination of strengths in Smart City research and practice in Bristol, which has a track record of internationally excellent research in this field.


This project seeks to advance Smart City practice by developing a novel approach to Smart City innovation and increasing our understanding of the preconditions for innovation to be firmly oriented towards citizens' priorities and interests. Close attention to the institutions and politics of urban governance will allow us to move away from the tokenistic citizen participation characteristic of much current Smart City development towards more effective methods of co-creation. The current Smart City debate lacks in-depth analyses of how to move towards the citizen- and problem-oriented development that has been widely advocated. This project can make a significant contribution to filling that gap. The project will bring together a multi-disciplinary, cross-sectoral team to work collaboratively to: (i) develop and test the value of a novel multi-dimensional framework in facilitating the co-creation of integrated, inclusive and equitable citizen-oriented Smart City innovation. The framework will be based upon the Responsible Innovation framework used in the anticipatory governance of techno-science, but not yet applied in the Smart City context. This will be combined with the Bristol Approach to citizen-centred Smart City development. Through knowledge exchange, contextual expertise of Mexican collaborators, and project learning this framework will be adapted and refined to be more broadly applicable. (ii) evaluate the extent to which existing Smart City practices in Mexico City align with the dimensions of this framework, with a particular focus on equity and social justice. Case studies of existing projects in Mexico City in development and operation will be conducted. The case studies will compare state-sponsored projects with those originating in civil society. The case studies will be benchmarked against our multi-dimensional framework. (iii) identify the institutional preconditions for effective and impactful citizen-oriented Smart City innovation. For citizen-oriented innovation to have broader impact can require it to interface with the social and political systems in which it is embedded. The project will examine the institutional context in which such innovation exists. The analysis will encompass organisational capacity; the involvement or incorporation of non-state actors; mechanisms of co-ordination and integration, including hybrid organisational arrangements and formal and informal rules of the game. Particular attention will be given to possible normative conflicts and the exercise of power. More specifically, the research will address the following six objectives: 1. formulate a multi-dimensional framework rooted in Responsible Innovation to support Smart City development based on collective competencies and capacities for anticipation, reflection, inclusive deliberation, and responsiveness; 2. use this framework to work with citizens and other stakeholders in Mexico City to (i) conduct an integrated anticipatory exercise on Smart City innovation, structuring capacity development into the process, and (ii) design a Smart City innovation geared towards citizens' priorities; 3. examine the broader institutions of urban governance with which citizen-oriented smart city developments need to interface successfully, identifying enablers and barriers; 4. benchmark existing approaches to Smart City development in Mexico City against our multi-dimensional framework; 5. provide opportunities for social learning directed at (i) better understanding the institutional constraints upon citizen-oriented Smart City development and the scope for institutional change; (ii) refining our framework to facilitate application in ODA countries more broadly; 6. collaboratively produce diverse outputs for a range of audiences, with a focus upon accessible tools to assist citizens and communities engage effectively with the Smart City agenda.

Status - Implementation More information about project status
Project Spend More information about project funding
Participating Organisation(s) More information about implementing organisation(s)

Sectors groups as a percentage of country budgets according to the Development Assistance Committee's classifications.


A comparison across six financial years of forecast spend and the total amount of money spent on the project to date.

This site uses cookies

We use Google Analytics to measure how you use the website so we can improve it based on user needs. Google Analytics sets cookies that store anonymised information about how you got to the site, the internal pages you visit, how long you spend on each page and what you click on while you're visiting the site. Read more