Clémentine Schelings has successfully defended her PhD thesis on April 1, 2021, and this is not an April Fool’s joke !
Her thesis, titled « Renewal of participatory approaches for the making of the Smart City » looks into how citizens’ participation should evolve, considering the new challenges of Smart Cities’ governance. Her results equip engineers, architects, urban planners, decision makers and citizens with new theoretical and methodological frameworks in order to include end-users as soon as the early stages of the design processes of our future cities.
For four years, Clémentine collected data through a variety of mixed methods, including a diagnosis of citizens’ perceptions through a general public survey; case studies of exemplary Smart Cities known for their participatory dynamics, and the bottom-up evaluation of several concrete participatory processes (e-participation platforms, participatory budget and face-to-face workshops).
Her work provides an essential clarification between three participatory modes that coexist and intertwine: codecision, codesign and data coproduction processes. It also develops the roles of the professional designers and the non-designer participants throughout the participatory process, highlighting the emergence of new intermediate positions. The thesis eventually questions Arnstein’s ladder (1969) and proposes an adaptation of Fung’s democratic cube (2006) in the form of a multidimensional model, which is better adapted to the participatory context of the Smart City.
Want to read more? Find Clémentine’s publications here.