Should cities help their citizens to adopt ICTs?
On ICT adoption policies in European cities
In this paper we argue that large cities can benefit from higher levels of adoption of ICT (information and communication technology) among the population. We develop an analytical framework permitting the analysis, assessment, and comparison of urban ICT-adoption stimulation policies. The frame is applied to four types of ICT-adoption policy, pursued in different European cities: The Hague, Eindhoven, Helsinki, and Manchester. We conclude that adoption policies can be justified for a number of reasons, and may contribute to urban development in several respects. However, in many cases, policies lack effectiveness because crucial factors that determine ICT adoption are not taken into account. Also, in too many cases, public policies interfere with market initiatives. On the basis of our case studies, we conclude that the most effective policies are not only problem driven but are also opportunity based and integrated: this includes infrastructure provision, content development, and resource building among low-adoptive groups.