Informing urban governance? Boundary-spanning organisations and the ecosystem of urban data

Michele Acuto*, Katrien Steenmans, Ewa Iwaszuk, Liliana Ortega-Garza

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In urban policy there is an increasing emphasis on the management and sharing of information in and about cities. This paper focuses on external sharing practices which are facilitated by boundary-spanning organisations. Boundary-spanning organisations are hybrid structures that provide a platform to link internal networks of the city government with external actors, and in particular focus on engaging various types of stakeholders. The paper offers a preliminary assessment of a sample of boundary-spanning organisations based across six case studies (Barcelona, Chicago, London, Medellin, Mexico City and Seoul) and across three types of BSOs: living labs, innovation districts and sector-oriented BSOs. Unpacking the shape and development of BSOs, and “placing” them in urban governance, we begin to sketch a preliminary agenda geared to offer a better appreciation of the “information ecosystem” underneath policy-making in cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG). © 2018 The Authors. Area published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).


  • boundary-spanning organisation
  • information ecosystem
  • innovation districts
  • living lab
  • smart cities
  • urban governance


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