Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action IF CROWD_USG


“Crowdsourcing Urban Sustainability Governance. Exploring innovative governance models for addressing urban sustainability through ICT-people interaction”

CROWD-USGCROWD_USG is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie, Individual Fellowship research project, exploring how increasing ICT-people interactions are transforming the governance of urban sustainability. The research is conduct by Chiara Certomà under the supervision of prof. Thomas Block at the Center for Sustainable Development (CDO), Dep. of Political Science. The project started in June 2017 will last 2 years.

The project

The project explores the potential of crowdsourcing (an online, distributed problem-solving process for creative solutions development) to advance innovative urban sustainability governance (USG) models. It is intended to investigate whether and how crowdsourcing can be appropriate for:

  • dealing with the mutable, multi-scalar and complex character of urban sustainability;
  • activating real participatory processes in knowledge production and decision-making;
  • empowering technological agency of heterogeneous actor-networks for narrowing the gap between research results and policy applications.

Research hypothesis are tested against evidences collected through investigation on the city of Ghent (Belgium), whose commitment for achieving urban sustainability goals through people’s participation, technological development and public-private partnerships makes it a forefront example in the European panorama. Actor-Network Theory framework and Scenario Building analysis are adopted for modelling current material-semiotic fluxes in USG; and for prefiguring future social, political and economic development determined by the introduction of crowdsourcing processes. Scientific results will include the assessment of the most appropriate crowdsourcing processes for citizens, administrations and business to collaboratively produce an innovative USG model; and the provision of policy-suggestions for the implementation of crowdsourcing-based participatory processes for USG in the context of European cities.


CROWD_USG project envisages:

  • the exploration of current knowledge on the adoption of crowdsourcing processes for fuelling participatory governance processes and dealing with urban sustainability issues;
  • the data collection and analysis of forefront applications in the city of Ghent, Belgium;
  • the analysis of how technological agency can transform knowledge production and decision-making processes, aimed at providing a general USG model characterised by the implementation of relevant crowdsourcing processes and tools
  • the provision of suggestions for upgrading participatory processes through crowdsourcing innovative applications for dealing with sustainability issues in other European cities

    Role of Ghent University

    The Centre for Sustainable Development (CDO), Department of Political Sciences, at Ghent University is the hosting institution for CROWD_USG project, and provide the necessary scientific and logistic support for the research and related activities to be performed.



    dr. Chiara Certomà
    Department of Political Sciences


    Prof. Thomas Block
    Department of Political Sciences, Centre for Sustainable Development – CDO
    09 264 82 08