• PB0916EN TF MS crowdsourcing case studies
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Urban crowdsourcing: guidelines for cities

Policy Briefs N°09/2016. Iddri, 2016. 4 p.

French cities have launched many urban crowdsourcing tools in the last few years, and are beginning to produce feedback on these experiments. As crowdsourcing is included in local governments' toolboxes, it becomes necessary to better understand how these tools affect urban management and citizen participation. This Policy Brief offers guidelines to support the selection and design of urban crowdsourcing tools that contribute to a more collaborative and sustainable city.


  • Numerous urban crowdsourcing experiments show such tools offer concrete promises for urban design and management and for citizen participation, both on a technical level (useful data) and on a policy level (creating a collective momentum).
  • We identify three main uses of these tools: getting closer to an “omniscient” city; sharing the urban experience and its evaluation; building the city’s future together. They correspond to three types of contributions expected from the citizen: mapping and reporting, expressing preferences and expectations, proposing ideas and projects to support decision-making.
  • Cities should be mindful of the user experience the tools offer. Digital tools embed political “software” that defines their ability to provide a transparent and 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.