New Publication: What Makes Civic Tech Initiatives To Last Over Time?

Andrea Hamm, Yuya Shibuya (University of Tokyo), Stefan Ullrich, and Tessy Cerratto Pargman (Stockholm University) conducted a mixed-method study on long-lasting civic tech initiatives to find out what has helped them to sustain over time. The study is published as a proceedings article of the international ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021). The study has been presented at the virtual CHI 2021 conference on 13 May 2021 (see below).


Civic tech initiatives dedicated to environmental issues have become a worldwide phenomenon and made invaluable contributions to data, community building, and publics. However, many of them stop after a relatively short time. Therefore, we studied two long-lasting civic tech initiatives of global scale, to understand what makes them sustain over time. To this end, we conducted two mixed-method case studies, combining social network analysis and qualitative content analysis of Twitter data with insights from expert interviews. Drawing on our findings, we identified a set of key factors that help the studied civic tech initiatives to grow and last. Contributing to Digital Civics in HCI, we argue that the civic tech initiatives’ scaling and sustaining are configured through the entanglement of (1) civic data both captured and owned by the citizens for the citizens, (2) the use of open and accessible technology, and (3) the initiatives’ public narrative, giving them a voice on the environmental issue.

Video Presentation at CHI2021 (5 min)