Urban crowdsourcing and digital citizen participation

2015 à 2017
Towards a more collaborative and sustainable city

Background and issues

Experiments using crowdsourcing tools are becoming  increasingly  common in municipalities around the world and are offering concrete promises for urban design and management as well as citizen participation, both on a technical level (useful data) as well as a policy level (creating a shared vision).

Three main uses of these tools can be identified:

  1. moving towards an “omniscient” city;

  2. sharing the urban experience and its evaluation;

  3. building the city’s future collectively.

These correspond to three types of contributions expected from the citizen:

  1. mapping and reporting,

  2. expressing preferences and expectations,

  3. proposing ideas and projects to support public decision-making.

Cities should be mindful of the user experience the tools offer. Digital tools embed political “software” that defines their ability to provide transparency, a social experience, as well as the level of freedom and capacity building provided to the citizen. We offer guidelines to take this into account when designing the tools.

Research objectives

Urban crowdsourcing experiments are being conducted by public authorities, private stakeholders and citizens’ associations in France and around the world. The Urban Crowdsourcing project has provided key insights based on these experiments and analyses geared towards supporting the actors using or aiming to use these digital tools.


  1. An Issue Brief  examining urban crowdsourcing and its promises for sustainable development
  2. Several case studies illustrating how urban crowdsourcing tools are currently used and how they contribute to a more collaborative, participatory and sustainable city (Study 2017, in French).
  3. A Policy Brief providing guidelines for cities and actors wishing to set up and use digital urban crowdsourcing and citizen engagement tools.

Following this project, IDDRI is partnering with FING to explore the factors determining governance and innovation in the real-world digital city through the AudaCities project.

Funding and partners

  • Ademe,

  • Caisse des Dépôts,

  • GRDF,

  • Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall),

  • MEEM,

  • PUCA,

  • Veolia

  • Vinci


- 6 December 2016, Paris - Urban crowdsourcing and digital citizen participation workshop: Do It Yourself!

- 23 June 2016, Paris - Sustainable development 2.0: can digital technologies fuel the ecological transition?