Responsive cities: Reimagining society's role in shaping its cities in the age of the internet
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This major project explores the responsive cities’ concept through one of its core components – digital community engagement tools. A responsive city leverages citizen knowledge, opinions, and ideas to create more liveable, sustainable, and resilient spaces (Goldsmith & Crawford, 2014; Klein et al., 2017). Digital engagement tools are crucial pieces in building responsive cities as they can optimise civic administration, planning and design, and bring the experiential and contextual knowledge of citizens into city planning procedures (Afzalan et al., 2017; Desouza & Bhagwatwar, 2012; Gutiérrez et al., 2017). Research on digital engagement tools’ origins, evolution, and current applications would be insightful and beneficial for future studies. The major project’s objective is to identify and analyse the functionality, uses, and impacts that digital engagement tools might have on the planning process in a responsive city context. The project highlights a wide variety of digital engagement tools and showcases their functionality and uses in different stages of planning processes. Several themes relating to digital engagement’s impact on citizens, planners, local governments, and outcomes of urban projects are explored. The findings suggest that digital engagement tools, in many cases, empower citizens by providing them easy access to municipal services and opportunities for engagement through diverse mediums. Digital engagement also has a positive impact on planners by providing them with large volumes of feedback from citizens while also allowing them to decipher which sections of society they are engaging with and whom they may be missing. A strategic guidebook on the steps to launch and execute digital engagement successfully has been produced as a final product through the lessons learned from primary and secondary research.