Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.
Skip to main content

Citizen-led Open Data for Participatory Urban Governance: Experiences from Germany, India and the Republic of Korea

Mohit Kapoor


date June 27, 2022 | 17:00 - 18:30
Multifunction Hall Room 11
Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Transforming Cities through Innovative Solutions and Technologies
NE 31


Over the last decade, due to the technological innovations available to our cities, we have witnessed a transformational change in urban planning and governance practices. The ease of availability of datasets, IT solutions, online dashboards, etc. has facilitated cities to deliver efficient public services, enhancing the quality of life for the citizens. However, such efforts adapting a top-down implementation of digital initiatives based on techno-determinism, often result in limited citizen participation and democratic decision-making by social actors. Therefore, cities must move beyond a technocratic approach towards ‘Citizen-led technology’. Through a robust public-private collaboration and citizen participation, cities could achieve inclusive urbanization in alignment to SDG 11. In this context, this session shall aim to discuss varied experiences of open data practices taking experiences of three countries with different dynamics of urbanization and adaptation of digitalization in their cities, namely, Germany, India and the Republic of Korea as a starting point.

The Government of the Republic of Korea, has promoted the provision and use of public open data since 2013, aimed at creating a transparent government and encouraging collaboration and co-creation with various civic actors. Later in 2020, the 3rd Open Data Master Plan was announced, focusing on encouraging ‘citizen-led use of open data’ and creating new forms of civic collaboration. Korea is an interesting example of how open data policy has changed over time, which demonstrates the evolving phases from techno-driven top-down implementation to citizen-led usage of open data.

The Government of India announced the Smart Cities Mission program in 2015 to make better use of technology for urban management and governance. Within this program, the creation of a National Urban Digital Mission (NUDM) focused on empowering citizens through responsive and participatory governance. This initiative institutionalized the culture of data in cities, however, the key focus remained on ‘people’, processes and platform, to build human resource capacities within government and engage communities in decision-making.

In the European Union, Germany represents the high diversity of open data agendas within its federal structures. While facing a reluctance in public administration due to property rights and privacy concerns at the beginning, the German federal states and cities show dynamics in balancing these concerns with opportunities for urban governance through the use of data. As a result, innovative practices emerged that combine legal and technological solutions for open data with prime examples of Hamburg, Bonn, and Berlin. The common ground of placing ‘people’ at the center of any policy and project allows for an exchange of experiences and potential pathways across cultural and socio-political contexts. The panelists shall share key lessons learnt and future solutions with the global audience.


The key objective of this session is to share experiences and key lessons learnt in Germany, India and Korea on citizen-focused perspectives on technological innovations for urban governance. With a result-based management approach, it is essential to discuss the ‘levers of change’ to develop open data initiatives towards participation and co-creation.

The following aspects will be discussed with the panelists to gain insights on this topic:

a) Technology and People: Lessons Learnt 1. Why are 'people' weighted as essential in the implementation and use of technology? 2. How do citizens respond/react to the availability and applicability of technology? 3. Do the experiences in Korea and India signify that citizens are more open to digitalization in comparison to Germany, due to collective understanding of data as a ‘public good’?

b) Innovation and People: Future Solutions 1. Which kind of innovations can be expected for urban governance through cooperation of public and civic actors? 2. Does ‘more openness’ lead to more innovations for societies? Can stringent data privacy regulations facilitate or decelerate innovations for urban governance?

c) Outcomes 1. What recommendations can be applied globally to place ‘people ’and their needs at the center of open data policies to transform our cities? 2. Which social, legal and technological settings are the key enablers for co-creation of knowledge amongst citizens and public actors through open data?

Session speakers

Dr. Mathias Jehling
Senior Scientist
Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development
Dr. Stefano Della Chiesa
Scientific Officer
Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development
Ms. Saebom Song
Scientific Associate
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
Ms. HyeJeong Lim
Senior Manager
National Information Society Agency
Mr. Harpal Dave
Asst. Town and Country Planner
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India
Dr. Carolin Klonner
Chair of GIScience
Institute of Geography, University of Heidelberg