• Jason Cohen University of the Witwatersrand
  • Judy Backhouse University of the Witwatersrand
  • Omar Ally University of the Witwatersrand
Keywords: smart city, resident participation, city services, importance-performance analysis, youth empowerment, city governance


Young people are important to cities, bringing skills and energy and contributing to economic activity. New technologies have led to the idea of a smart city as a framework for city management. Smart cities are developed from the top-down through government programmes, but also from the bottom-up by residents as technologies facilitate participation in developing new forms of city services. Young people are uniquely positioned to contribute to bottom-up smart city projects. Few diagnostic tools exist to guide city authorities on how to prioritise city service provision. A starting point is to understand how the youth value city services. This study surveys young people in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, and conducts an importance-performance analysis to identify which city services are well regarded and where the city should focus efforts and resources. The 

results show that Smart city initiatives that would most increase the satisfaction of youths in Braamfontein  include wireless connectivity, tools to track public transport  and  information  on city events. These  results  identify  city services that are valued by young people, highlighting services that young people could participate in providing. The importance-performance analysis can assist the city to direct effort and scarce resources effectively.


Allwinkle, S. and P. Cruickshank. 2011. Creating Smart-er Cities: An Overview. Journal of Urban Technology 18(2):1–16.

Bakker, T.P. and C.H. de Vreese. 2011. Good news for the future? Young people, Internet use, and political participation. Communication Research 38(4):451-470.

Bolton, R. N., A. Parasuraman, A. Hoefnagels, N. Migchels, S. Kabadayi, T. Gruber and D. Solnet. 2013. Understanding Generation Y and their use of social media: a review and research agenda. Journal of Service Management 24(3):245-267.

Caragliu, A., C. Del Bo and P. Nijkamp. 2011. Smart Cities in Europe. Journal of Urban Technology 18(2):65–82.

City of Johannesburg. 2013. Integrated Development Plan. Accessed from on 22 January 2016.

Dohler, M., I. Vilajosana, X. Vilajosana and J Llosa. 2011. Smart Cities: An Action Plan. Smart City Expo & World Congress. Barcelona, Spain.

Furlong, A. and F. Cartmel. 2012. Social change and political engagement among young people: generation and the 2009/2010 British Election Survey. Parliamentary affairs 65(1):13-28.

Giffinger, R., C. Fertner, H. Kramar, R. Kalasek, N. Pichler- Milanović and E. Meijers. 2007. Smart Cities: Ranking of European Medium-Sized Cities. Vienna, Austria: Centre of Regional Science (SRF), Vienna University of Technology.

Giovannella, C., Iosue, A., Tancredi, A., Cicola, F., Camusi, A., Moggio, F., Baraniello, V., Carcone, S., and Coco, S. 2013. Scenarios for active learning in smart territories. Interaction Design and Architecture(s) Journal 16:7-16.

Gustafsson, A. and M.D. Johnson. 2004. Determining attribute importance in a service satisfaction model. Journal of Service Research 7(2):124-141.

Hollands, R.G. 2008. Will the real Smart City please stand up? Intelligent, progressive or entrepreneurial? City 12(3):303-320.

Lee, J. and H. Lee. 2014. Developing and validating a citizen-centric typology for smart city services. Government Information Quarterly 31(Supplement 1):1-13.

Leem, C. S. and B.G. Kim. 2013. Taxonomy of ubiquitous computing service for city development. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing 17:1475–1483.

Martilla, J. A. and J.C. James. 1977. Importance-Performance Analysis. Journal of Marketing 14(1):77- 79.

Nam, T. and T.A. Pardo. 2011. Conceptualizing smart city with dimensions of technology, people, and institutions. In Proceedings of the 12th Annual International Digital Government Research Conference: Digital Government Innovation in Challenging Times 282-291. ACM, New York, NY.

Neirotti, P., A. De Marco, A.C. Cagliano, G. Mangano and F. Scorrano. 2014. Current trends in Smart City initiatives: Some stylised facts. Cities, 38:25-36.

Ojo, A., E. Curry and T. Janowski. 2014. Designing next generation Smart City initiatives - Harnessing findings and lessons from a study of ten Smart City programs. In Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS) 2014 1-14. Tel Aviv, Israel.

Pinero, J.E. and A.R.P. Soto. 2013. The new era of the Smart Cities: Open innovation based on human-centered computing methodologies applied in the PEOPLE project. Proceedings of the 8th Iberian Conference on Information Systems and Technologies (CISTI), 19-22 June 2013, 1-6.

Roche, S. and A. Rajabifard. 2012. Sensing placesʼ life to make city smarter. In Proceedings of ACM SIGKDD International Workshop on Urban Computing (UrbComp 2012), August 12, 2012. Beijing, China.

Shin, D. H. and T. Kim. 2012. Enabling the Smart City: The Progress of U-City in Korea. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Ubiquitous Information Management and Communication 1-7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Statistics South Africa. 2014. National and Provincial Labour Market: Youth. Retrieved from January 2016.

Topo, M. 2016. Explaining the Use and Non-Use of Smart Cities Services in Johannesburg: Residents’ Perspectives. Master of Commerce dissertation. University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Topo, M. and J. Backhouse. 2015. Explaining the Use and Non-Use of Smart Cities Services in Johannesburg: Residents’ Perspectives. In Proceedings of the 12th Prato CIRN Conference 9-11 November 2015, Prato, Italy.

Velosa, A. and B. Tratz-Ryan. 2013. Hype Cycle for Smart City Technologies and Solutions. Gartner. Accessed from on 16 June 2014.

Welch, E.W., C.C. Hinnant and J.M. Moon. 2005. Linking Citizen Satisfaction with EGovernment and Trust in Government. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 15(3):371-391.