An evaluation of stakeholders' participation process in developing smart sustainable cities in Saudi Arabia

Abood Khaled Alamoudi*, Rotimi Boluwatife Abidoye, Terence Yat Ming Lam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The smart sustainable cities (SSC) concept has a wide acknowledgement amongst governments and societies that deal with emerging technology and help in developing better urban communities. However, the fact that citizens' participation (CP) is not adherent to the current policies and governance often boosts their aspirations of decision-making to become smart cities. This paper aims to identify SSC variables and, more importantly, rank, categorise and discuss the factors towards implementing SSC by engaging, empowering and enabling citizens to participate in the urban development of SSC.

A comprehensive literature review identified 38 factors in the CP process. Those factors were used to design an online questionnaire administered to the respondents. A total of 164 valid responses were collected. A two-stage statistical analysis was adopted. First, the Relative Importance Index (RII) was used to rank and prioritise the importance of the factors that affect the current policies and agenda. Second, factor analysis was utilised to categorise and group those factors.

This study founds four significant factors that help in implanting SSC: “knowledge of smart sustainable cities”, “awareness of smart sustainable cities”, “willingness of the citizens to participate” and “opinion on the current agenda of the government's role”.

Research limitations/implications
This study has a few limitations which can be considered in future studies. First, the response rate of the participant is relatively low (163), so sampling a larger segment will support the broader perception of the citizens.

Practical implications
The outcome of this paper underlines the need for the successful implementation of smart cities by adopting CP in the process of impacting policies and governance. Particularly, it identifies factors that help cities and policymakers in engaging CP in developing new policies and revising existing policies for promoting SSC.

There is a need to investigate the most critical factors that influence CP for implementing SSC. These factors have not been adequately examined in extant literature.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages22
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Early online date12 Dec 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


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