E-governance in cities - E-governance in cities Paper for...

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E-governance in cities Paper for the 42th congress of the European Regional Science Association 27 – 31 August, Dortmund, Germany Andre van der Meer Willem van Winden European Institute for Comparative Urban Research Erasmus University Rotterdam P.O. box 1738 3000 DR Rotterdam Tel: 31 10 4081186 Fax: 31 10 4089153 Email: [email protected] Abstract This paper describes and analyses the way European urban policymakers guide their city into the information age. We develop an analytical framework to be able to analyse, assess and compare urban ICT policies. In the empirical part, the frame is applied to a number of cities.We conclude that the most successful cities apply a balanced mix of content, infrastructure and access policies. Furthermore, success depends on the capacity of urban management to engage in local networks with local companies, citizens and intermediary organisations, as well as their ability to mobilize external resources.
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2 1. INTRODUCTION The information society is assumed to change almost everything, from commuting patterns to economic structures, from the location factors of business to social relations, and all of these changes manifest themselves in cities. They affect urban structures, forms, hierarchies, economies and societies. The development and application of ICTs (information and communication technologies) lies at the heart of these transformations. ICTs can be described as the melting of computer technology, telecommunications, electronics and media (Van Rijsselt and Weijers, 1997). Examples of new ICTs are the personal computer, but also the Internet, mobile telephone, cable television and electronic payment systems are included. In the last decade, innovations in communications and information technology have been introduced at rapid speed (Castells, 1996, Forrester, 1996). There is now an growing literature about the way ICTs are changing cities. In this paper, we want to contribute this debate. In our approach, we intend to move away from the abstract macro-idea of “the information society”, but instead stress diversity and the “couleur locale” of the information society, on the urban level. This approach fits in the newer strands of technology research in social sciences that focus on the context-dependency of the uptake of technologies. New technologies do not fall out of the blue sky into a homogeneous landscape, and then change it completely; their development and application is embedded in existing economic, institutional, social and spatial structures, and changes them in rather subtle ways. Our starting point is that, for a number of reasons, the manifestation of the “information society” varies considerably from city to city. To reveal this diversity, in the first part of the paper we present a conceptual framework that helps us to unravel the local color –or flavor, if you like- of the information society in cities. We make a distinction between three manifestations of the information revolution: local electronic content, local access to new technologies, and local electronic infrastructure. We suggest some hypothesis on the interaction
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E-governance in cities - E-governance in cities Paper for...

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