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Benchmarking of European smart cities – a maturity model and web-based self-assessment tool

Danielle Warnecke (Department of Economics, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany)
Rikka Wittstock (Department of Economics, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany)
Frank Teuteberg (Department of Economics, University of Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Germany)

Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal

ISSN: 2040-8021

Article publication date: 15 August 2019

Issue publication date: 18 September 2019




Benchmarks provide a strategic tool for assessing the sustainability impacts of urban development. Addressing the need for practitioners to evaluate their initiatives, track progress and determine their competitive position, this paper aims to introduce the conception and implementation of a smart city maturity assessment and benchmarking tool.


Following a design science approach, application objectives are defined based on a review of literature and related benchmarking tools. Focusing on a subset of functions for the prototype version, these objectives are operationalized by development of a smart mobility maturity model, indicator set and survey. A two-step evaluation by means of a test run using data of five cities and expert interviews confirms the tool’s functionality.


Compliance with the defined objectives is achieved by implementation of a Web-based self-assessment tool using objective indicators. Future development iterations are to integrate additional smart city action fields.

Practical implications

Delivering a city’s maturity level, the tool enables stakeholders to measure the impact of their initiatives. Benchmarking functions for tracking progress and comparison with other projects are provided in the form of graphical analyses. Ac-tionable guidance is supplied for improving the city’s standing.

Social implications

Strategies supporting a sustainable lifestyle are crucial for smart city development, as the shaping of attractive living spaces and a reliable information and communication technology and physical infrastructure form major selling points for attracting skilled workers, businesses, tourists and citizens.


Enabling practitioners to self-evaluate their initiatives, providing the option to track progress and supplying guidance for improving a city’ standing, the proposed solution represents a novel form of knowledge transfer.



Warnecke, D., Wittstock, R. and Teuteberg, F. (2019), "Benchmarking of European smart cities – a maturity model and web-based self-assessment tool", Sustainability Accounting, Management and Policy Journal, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 654-684.



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