Call for Papers: Smart Applications for Smart Cities: New Approaches to Innovation

Special issue of the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research

Guest Editors: Hans Schaffers, Carlo Ratti and Nicos Komninos

The Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research is planning a special issue on Smart Applications for Smart Cities: New Approaches to Innovation.

Cities are complex, networked and continuously changing social ecosystems, shaped and transformed through the interaction of different interests and ambitions. Ensuring employment, sustainable development, inclusion and quality of life are important concerns. Infrastructures of cities, addressing these concerns, comprise a diversity of services such as healthcare, energy, education, environmental management, transportation and mobility, public safety. Increasingly these services are enabled by broadband infrastructures, wireless sensor networks, Internet-based networked applications, open data and open platforms. The concept of “smart cities” has emerged during the last few years to describe how investments in human and social capital and modern ICT infrastructure and e-services fuel sustainable growth and quality of life, enabled by a wise management of natural resources and through participative government (Caragliu, Del Bo, Nijkamp).

However truly smart – and real – cities are driven bottom up by citizens and organizations as innovators rather than by top down visions and plans that ignore the innovative potential of grassroots efforts, while governments should play the role of mediator bringing companies, research organizations and creative people to work in concert (Ratti, Townsend). The connection between smart environments and bottom-up innovation practices in the framework of cities and urban agglomerations is the main focus of the Special Issue. In particular we  explore how collaboration platforms, embedded systems, open data, and semantic web technologies sustain a new round of innovation  driven by the creativity of the population and the collective intelligence of collaboration.

The concept of Living Labs takes its point of departure in the consideration of people as innovators, and envisions environments of open and user driven innovation. As infrastructures and social networks become more advanced and widespread, the role of the Internet as an enabler of city services has  become more important for urban development. Cities are increasingly assuming a critical role as drivers of innovation in areas such as health, inclusion, environment and business, a trend that will surely continue as more people and devices will become part of  the Future Internet even than are connected today. Cities are increasingly becoming a living lab itself, a playground of innovation and transformation.

In this landscape, different traditionally separated streams of scientific research are coming together. New research challenges emerge in and across areas such as urban development and spatial planning, network infrastructure, technology platforms, services and applications, user behaviour, service engineering, innovation theory and urban economics. Also new methodological approaches to research and innovation emerge, such as design science, action research, living labs methodologies, testbed methods and tools, which need a more solid and empirically based foundation in theory as well as in practice. This special issue aims to advance our understanding of the emerging or already more mature research challenges at the cross point of the different areas mentioned. Such understanding will help academics and practitioners to explore new directions and generate knowledge and solutions towards smarter cities.

Subject Coverage 

We specifically encourage papers related to user centered approaches for innovation focusing on smart applications, aiming for a transformation towards smarter cities. Papers may cover smart applications for smart cities, addressing the participative design, implementation and validation aspects. We also solicit methodologically oriented papers on new, non-traditional approaches to citizen-centric innovation for smart cities. Particular topics to be addressed might include, but are not limited to the following :

  • User driven innovation facilitating participative urban development
  • Innovation Labs facilitating urban planning, development and transformation
  • Citizen participation in urban and regional planning and decision-making and governance
  • Internet-enabled infrastructures, services and networked applications for smart cities
  • Smart applications for innovation based on Internet of Things and Internet of Services paradigms
  • Wireless sensor networks and smart sensor-based networked applications in urban areas
  • Cloud computing, service models and smart city solutions enabling innovation
  • Standardisation and open interfaces of smart city systems, platforms and applications
  • Smart applications based on Semantic Web, Linked Data, Ontologies
  • Infrastructures and applications for new public urban services such as water, energy, healthcare, environmental monitoring, traffic management, intelligent transportation, e-government
  • Smart grids for utility infrastructures and services in urban areas
  • E-work and e-business applications
  • Design, implementation and evaluation of smart applications
  • Case studies of user driven innovation for smart(er) cities.


Notes for Intending Authors

We are seeking original manuscripts on conceptual and methodological issues related to qualitative research on e-marketing and online consumer behaviour, as well as papers which report on the results of qualitative empirical research in the field.

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.


Author guidelines can be found at All submissions will be refereed by at least three reviewers. Submissions should be directed by email to with copy to and


For more information, please visit the following web site:


Important dates

­Full paper submission: 1 May 2012

­Notification of acceptance: 1 July 2012

­Revised submission: 1 August 2012

­Final acceptance notification: 15 August 2012

­Camera ready version of paper: 15 September 2012

­Publication: December 2012


Guest Editors

Prof. Hans Schaffers

Aalto University School of Economics

Centre of Knowledge and Innovation Research (CKIR)



Prof. Carlo Ratti

MIT Senseable City Laboratory



Prof. Nicos Komninos

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

Urban and Regional Research Unit (URENIO)



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