Smart Cities, 3(3), pp 978-1003
This article addresses the problem of replication among smart cities in the European Commission’s Horizon 2020: Smart Cities and Communities (EC-H2020-SCC) framework programme. This article initially sets the general policy context by conducting a benchmarking about the explicit replication strategies followed by each of the 17 ongoing EC-H2020-SCC lighthouse projects. This article aims to shed light on the following research question: Why might replication not be happening among smart cities as a unidirectional, hierarchical, mechanistic, solutionist, and technocratic process? Particularly, in asking so, it focuses on the EC-H2020-SCC Replicate project by examining in depth the fieldwork action research process implemented during 2019 through a knowledge exchange webinar series with participant stakeholders from six European cities—three lighthouse cities (St. Sebastian, Florence, and Bristol) and three follower-fellow cities (Essen, Lausanne, and Nilüfer). This process resulted in a City-to-City Learning Programme that reformulated the issue of replication by experimenting an alternative and an enhanced policy approach. Thus, stemming from the evidence-based policy outcomes of the City-to-City Learning Programme, this article reveals that a replication policy approach from the social innovation lenses might be enabled as a multidirectional, radial, dynamic, iterative, and democratic learning process, overcoming the given unidirectional, hierarchical, mechanistic, solutionist, and technocratic approach.