SMARTNORTH: Sustainable development and Management by participatory governance practices in the High North


The project investigates the scope of and driving forces for the development of participatory governance (PG) practices and their potential effects on sustainable development in High North communities. The growing use of ICT technology and so-called smart city-, community- or region concepts opens up new areas for public innovation, especially regarding the development of new PG practices in the High North.

​​​Popular science presentation

The growing use of ICT technology and so-called Smart City-, community-, region- initiatives opens up new areas for public innovation, especially regarding the development of local dimension of governance in the High North. Such innovations can give greater voice to local stakeholders, in relation to strategic, urban and financial planning decisions in the High North territories. However, knowledge about the existing and new practices of local stakeholders’ involvement/participation and Smart Cities in the context of the High North is mostly missing. Smart City initiatives suggest technological development of cities with focus on infrastructures and services which improve citizens’ life, with a wise management of natural resources, through participatory governance (PG). PG concept suggests that local stakeholders (e.g. citizens) become active contributors into local governance, including strategic, urban and financial planning. 

Founded on an international team of researchers from Norway, Russia and Finland, SMARTNORTH project combines the fields of public administration, management and organizational science. By these means, project group investigates the scope of and driving forces for the development of PG and Smart City initiatives in High North along with their potential effects on sustainable development in High North communities. 

On the first phase of the project, the project team has been mapping existing experiences of PG and Smart City initiatives via a comprehensive media and documentary review of 76 cities in the High North of Norway, Russia, Finland and North America. The preliminary findings demonstrate that: while the smart city initiatives are growing in the High North, the concept, developed outside the High North, requires careful interpretation and translation into its unique context with the use of PG mechanisms and performance management. The results show that, with minority exceptions, the Smart City and PG initiatives are disconnected from each other. It seems that the global Smart City technological solutions are introduced regardless acknowledging local communities needs and unique challenges of the High North.

More deep investigation of Smart City and PG initiatives in the High North (stage 2), namely in Norway, Finland, Russia and North America,  illustrates practice variation across countries, especially in terms of the link to sustainability agenda. Norwegian High North experience, in that sense, demonstrates that while striving for sustainability by means of smart city initiatives and PG, the development discourse, with few exceptions, is still dominated with technocratic visions rather than citizen-centric approach to address sustainability. Finish High North experience, in its turn, put national and international priorities towards sustainability via the creation of Smart City ecosystem  (example of city of Oulu) with the central role of collaboration between citizens, academia, business and public sector. North American Arctic cities, in general, more often use the term ‘smart’ to solely refer to telecommunication connections without a clear vision of PG and Smart City for sustainability needs. Last but not least, Russian High North experience witnessed top-down approach in defining smart city and PG be means of creation of standard by federal authorities. While bringing vision from the top, the standard hardly matches with realities and sustainability agenda of cities in the Russian High North.  Following up these countries comparisons (stage 3), the project will summarize Smart City and PG initiatives in the High North and its potential opportunities and challenges on sustainable development in the region.

For the current moment, the project resulted in 9 peer-review publications and number of working papers presented in international conferences/seminars in Norway, Finland, Iceland, Russia and New Zealand. In addition, the project group published 8 newspaper chronicles and actively promoted the project ideas and findings via presentations for public and practitioners. The project ambition is to bring more knowledge in international academic journals during 2020-2021 along with publishing several chronicles in High North newspapers and a policy-oriented project report.​​​

Project Team

Reference group

Dissemination partners

Publications

Smart North science presentations​​

1) Khodachek I. (2020, March) SMARTNORTH project presentation, RANEPA research seminar, St. Petersburg, Russia   
​​2)Giuseppe, G. (2019 October) “A public management perspective on smart cities”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
3) Aleksandrov, E. SMARTNORTH project presentation, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
4) Dybtsyna, E. (2019 October) “Mapping smart cities and citizens role in Norway”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
5) Khodachek I. (2019 October) “Smart Cities for the High North? Mapping participatory governance initiatives”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
6)  Giltman, M. (2019, October), “Smart Tyumen: Discourse In The Internet-Media”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
7) Kuznetcova, E. (2019, October), “Smart Cities and participatory governance in Murmansk”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
8) Aleksandrov, E. and Middleton, A. (2019, October) “Smart City for whom?  Analysis of Smart co-creation and planning initiatives of the city of Oulu from the dialogue perspective”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
9)  Bourmistrov, A.  (2019, October), Special Issue of Journal of Public Sector Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management “Accounting for sustainable and smart cities”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
10) Frolov, V. (2019, October) “Smart City in North”, Project workshop “Opportunities and challenges for smart development in the High North: Governance, business and people”, 14-15 October, MGIMO, Moscow, Russia
11) Middleton, A. (2020 January), “Sustainable Business Development in the Arctic: Under What Rules?”, Arctic Frontiers Conference, Tromsø, Norway 
12) Dybtsyna, E. (2020 July ) “Smart City development in the Norwegian Arctic”, 38th EGOS colloquium (online) 
13) Aleksandrov, E. (2019 October) Smart Cities for the High North?: current developments in Finland, North America, Norway and Russia. Project SMARTNORTH: Sustainable development and MAnagement by paRTicipatory governance practices in the High NORTH  Arctic Circle Conference, Reykjavik, Iceland
14) Middleton, A. (2020 June), “) “Smart City for whom?  Analysis of Smart co-creation and planning initiatives of the city of Oulu from the dialogue perspective”, APECS conference (online)
15) Aleksandrov E. and Dybtsyna E. (2020, September) “Accounting for Whom and what direction?: opening smart city rankings to critical scrutiny”, Special Issue Workshop of Journal of Public Sector Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management “Accounting for sustainable and smart cities”, online  (research paper co-authored with Bourmistrov, A., and Grossi, G)
16) Khodachek, I. (2020, September) “SMARTNORTH research project and spin-off networking and education initiatives for sustainability of northern smart cities”, Northern Sustainable Development Forum (Online)
17) Aleksandrov E. and Dybtsyna E. (2018, October) “Opening Smart City to Critical Scrutiny”, ISOCARP conference, Bodø, Norway (research paper co-authored with Bourmistrov, A., and Grossi, G)
18) Aleksandrov, E. (2019, September) “Smart Cities for sustainable development of the High North?”, Research seminar on section of Public Administration, Tampere University, Tampere, Finland
19) Dybtsyna, E. (2019, April). “Performativity for whom? Analysis of Smart City European ranking systems from dialogic perspective”, Seminar “Smart Societies in the High North”, side event of High North Dialogue, Bodø, Norway (research paper co-authored with Aleksandrov, E., Bourmistrov, A., and Grossi, G.)
20) Khodachek I. (2019, April) “Smart Cities for the High North? Mapping participatory governance initiatives in Norway, Russia, Finland, and North America”, High North Dialogue Conference, Bodø, Norway (research paper co-authored with Aleksandrov, E., Dybtsyna, E., Nazarova, N., Middleton, A., Kuznetcova, E., Raspotnik, A.)  
21) Khodachek I. (2019, August) “Smart Cities for the High North? Mapping participatory governance initiatives in Norway, Russia, Finland, and North America”, NFF Conference, Vaasa, Finland (research paper co-authored with Aleksandrov, E., Dybtsyna, E., Nazarova, N., Middleton, A., Kuznetcova, E., Raspotnik, A.)  
22) Khodachek I. (2019, January) “Mapping participatory governance practices and smart city initiatives in the High North”, Arctic Frontiers Conference, Tromsø, Norway (research paper co-authored with Aleksandrov, E., Dybtsyna, E., Nazarova, N., Middleton, A., Kuznetcova, E., Raspotnik, A.)  
23) Middleton, A. (2019).  “Arctic Smart Specialization”.,  Arctic Frontiers Conference, Tromsø, Norway
24) Raspotnik, A. (2019, April). “A Tale of Three Cities: The Concept of Smart Sustainable Cities for the Arctic”, Seminar “Smart Societies in the High North”, side event of High North Dialogue, Bodø, Norway (research paper co-authored with Groenning, R., Herrmann, V.)
25) Tabassum, R. (2019, August) “Bibliometric literature review and research agenda on performance measurement in Smart Cities”, NFF Conference, Vaasa, Finland (research paper co-authored with Grossi., G., Dybtsyna., E.)
26) Tabassum, R. (2019, July) “Smart City financial and performance management: bibliometric literature review”, APIRA conference, Auckland, New Zealand (research paper co-authored with Grossi., G., Dybtsyna., E.)

Newspaper c​​hronicles and commentaries

1) Nazarova, N., Aleksandrov, E., Bourmisrov, A. (2020) Smart Societies and Arctic Sustainability: Opportunities and Challenge, UArctic  Shared Voices Magazine 2020 https://www.uarctic.org/shared-voices/shared-voices-magazine-2020/smart-societies-and-arctic-sustainability-opportunities-and-challenges/ 
2) Raspotnik, A.  edited by HILDE-GUNN BYE (2020) Oulu is Well-Developed, Bodø is Well-Connected, and then you have Anchorage..., High North Newshttps://www.highnorthnews.com/en/oulu-well-developed-bodo-well-connected-and-then-you-have-anchorage Norwegian versionhttps://www.highnorthnews.com/nb/oulu-er-godt-utviklet-bodo-har-gode-forbindelser-og-sa-er-det-anchorage 
3) Vakkuri, J. (2019)  Smart city: Mix of everything, Project Baltia: Review of architecture and design from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and  North-West Russia, Vol. 34, Special issue “Smart City” , pp. 107-110 ISSN 1994-9367 
4) Grossi, G. (2019) A virtual agora for a smart city, Project Baltia: Review of architecture and design from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and  North-West Russia, Vol. 34, Special issue “Smart City” , pp. 107-110 ISSN 1994-9367 
5) Khodachek, I. (2019) SMARTNORTH as an awareness test for mankind, Project Baltia: Review of architecture and design from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and  North-West Russia, Vol. 34, Special issue “Smart City” , pp. 106-107 ISSN 1994-9367 
​​​6) McMahon, R. and Raspotnik, A.  (2019) Can Smart Can Smart Societies support Innovation in the Arctic? High North Newshttps://www.highnorthnews.com/en/can-smart-societies-support-innovation-arctic​
7) McMahon, R. and Raspotnik, A.  (2019) Can Smart Can Smart Societies support Innovation in the Arctic? The Arctic Institute  web-page https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/smart-societies-innovation-arctic/ 
8) Middleton, A. (2019) “Is the Future of the European Arctic Socially Sustainable?”, The Arctic Institute https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/future-european-arctic-socially-sustainable/?fbclid=IwAR3_3sqLbmZpq-nnRnfxvpUkMewGEGQBRjWhb4Pt4ffu7XzW3U3IhtOpVBE  

Popular sci​ence presentations​​​

1) Frolov, V. (2019, December) Presentation of  Special issue “Smart City”,   Project Baltia: Review of architecture and design from Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and  North-West Russia, 100 participants, Museum of RZD, Saint-Petersburg, Russia

2) Aleksandrov (2018, December) "Den mørke siden av Smart By-utvikling: Hva skjer når vi kombinerer “Smartness”, innbyggere og offentlig sektor?", INNSIKT, Bodø, 7th of December 2018, Public Library, Bodø, Norway
3) Bourmistrov A. (2018, October) “Sustainable Smart Cities? Case study of the High North”, Open Seminar “Is the smart city sustainable? The case of Bodø”, Public Library, ISOCARP conference side event, Bodø, Norway
4) Bourmistrov (2019, January). “Foresight as a learning platform for Smart City”, Seminar Smart Business in the Arctic, Public library, Bodø, Norway
5) Khodachek I. (2018, October). International forum “Cities of Russia 2030: digital future” (750 participants), Yekaterinburg, Russia 
6) Khodachek I. (2019, September). “Smart Cities and citizen involvement for the High North”, Nordic Edge Expo, Stavanger, Norway

Presentatio​​n for practitioners:

​1) Aleksandrov E.  (2018, October) “Citizens involvement aspect in Smart City initiatives”, invited speaker, Conference “State and society: exchange of best practices of regional and local governance. In focus: Leningrad region and Nordland county (Norway)”, St.Petersburg, Russia – dissemination for practitioners 
2) Aleksandrov (2019, May). “SMARTNORTH Project and implications for practitioners”, Meeting with Russian delegation from Vyborg Municipality and High North Center, Bodø, Norway
3) Bourmistrov (2019, August). “SMARTNORTH project and Smart societies”, Meeting with Bodø Municipality, Bodø, Norway
4) Giltman, M. (2019, June) International scientific forum at RANEPA “Public Administration: the role of citizens in constructing digital governance” (630 participants),  St.Petersburg, Russia
5) Khodachek, I. (2019, February). National conference at RANEPA “National development goals and transformation of municipal strategies 2024” (120 participants), Ivanovo, Russia
6) Khodachek, I. (2019, June) International scientific forum at RANEPA “Public Administration: the role of citizens in constructing digital governance” (630 participants), St. Peterburg, Russia 

Peer-reviewed publications, conference proceedings

1) Raspotnik, A., Grønning, R., & Herrmann, V. (2020). A tale of three cities: the concept of smart sustainable cities for the Arctic. Polar Geography, 43(1), 64-87.
2) Bourmistrov, A.  (2019), Scenarioer som «reflektivitetsfeller»?: En refleksjon over erfaringer med scenarioarbeid i nordområdene, Praktisk økonomi & finans 35(03):172-186
3) Grossi, G., Meijer, A., & Sargiacomo, M. (2020). A public management perspective on smart cities:‘Urban auditing’ for management, governance and accountability.
4) Dybtsyna, E. and Aleksandrov., E. (2020) Smarte byer i nordområdene: samhandling med innbyggerne. MAGMA, 5/20, pp. 86-96
5) Dybtsyna, E., Mathisen, T.A., Carlsson, B.-A., and Hardy, K. (2020). Trust, control, and risk in MaaS alliances. In Strømmen-Bakhtiar, A. and Vinogradov, E. (eds). The impact of the sharing economy on business and society: Digital transformation and the rise of platform businesses, Routledge
6) Aleksandrov, E., & Kuznetcova, E. (2019). “Citizens’ involvement into financial planning in Russian North: external pressures and internal dynamics of participatory budgeting experiments”, Barents Studies Journal, vol. 6 issue 1, pp. 32-47, ISSN 2324-0652 
7) Aleksandrov, E., Bourmistrov, A., Dybtsyna, E., Grossi, G. (2018). “Opening Smart City ‘fairy tale’ to Critical Scrutiny: insights from dialogic accounting literature”, ISOCARP Conference Proceedings, ISBN 978-94-90354-54-1, pp. 1403-1430
8) Raspotnik, A. and McMahon, R. (forthcoming in 2020). “Digital Connectivity in the Circumpolar Arctic: Supports and Barriers to Northern Digital Development”, in (Eds.) Nuttall, M. and Nuttall, A.D., Handbook on Arctic Politics, Routledge, ISBN-10: 185743868X
9) Bourmistrov, A. and Johansen, S.T. (2019) Editorial - Management of the High North: the role of context, actors and their strategies and plans. Special Issue, Barents Studies – People, Economies, Politics Journal, Vol. 6, Issue 1. Open Assess: http://www.barentsinfo.org/barentsstudies/English/Issues/2019-vol6-1ISSN 2324-0652 

Other disse​mination

1) 2020 Master thesis, Denis Kotlyarov Enhancing citizens’ participation mechanisms in smart city projects (case of Gatchina city) North West Institute of Management, RANEPA 
2) 2019 Master Thesis Ksenia Klevtsova Smart-City as a Component of the City-Marketing Strategy: a case of Gatchina city , Graduate School of Management, SPBU
3) 2019, Bjørn-Anders Carlsson og Kenneth Hardy, Mye MaaS: «løsningen på framtidens transportutfordringer?» - Hvordan kan tillit, kontroll og risiko fungere i MaaS-allianser i en norsk kontekst?
4) 2020,  Even Furdal Wold og Siri Pedersen, Rangeringer av smarte byer - En studie av likheter, forskjeller og perspektiver
5) Bourmistrov, A, and Mouritsen, J. (2019, September) Announcement of special issue in JPBAFM: “Accounting for Smart and Sustainable Cities”, September 2020
6) Bourmistrov, A. (2019) Member of the panel – “Citizen and local government interaction: enabling citizen participation”, Norwegian-Ukrainian Business Forum 2019, Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet), January 28th.

Working papers, chronicles and reports, archives and eve​nts in process (planning)​​

1) Khodachek, I., Aleksandrov, E., Nazarova, N., Grossi, G., Bourmistrov, A., “Standardization of smart cities in the bureaucratic governance context of Russia”, (under review)
2) Dybtsyna, E. and Aleksandrov., E. High North News Chronicles «Smarte byer i nordområdene: samhandling med innbyggerne» (in prosess)
3) Khodachek, I., Aleksandrov, E. et al. “Smart Cities for the High North? Mapping participatory governance initiatives in Norway, Russia, Finland, and North America” (to be submitted to Cities, November)
4) Aleksandrov, E. and Middleton, A. “Smart City for whom?  Analysis of Smart co-creation and planning initiatives of the city of Oulu from the dialogue perspective” (to be submitted to the special issue to JPBAFM) 
5) Aleksandrov, E., Dybtsyna, E., Bourmistrov, A., Grossi, G., “Opening Smart City ‘fairy tale’ to Critical Scrutiny: insights from dialogic accounting literature” (to be submitted to the special issue to JPBAFM)
6) Data archiving for the project (December 2020-January 2020 and later in case of papers accepted after January 2021)
7) Project policy report SMARTNORTH summary (to be done in January 2021)
8) Final project results workshop (to be done in the end of January 2021)​​​

 Contacts: