In recent decades, the public sector has been looking for ways to accommodate increasingly critical citizens by striving towards a less bureaucratic and more efficient organization, as well as more direct forms of communication. Government institutions try to respond more quickly to citizens’ concerns and want to ensure that citizens can contact them more easily and find relevant and accurate information promptly. To achieve this, they often turn to technological aids. This article focuses on how municipalities analyze and follow up minor violations and street nuisances. We used semi-structured interviews with key informants from the relevant services of the municipality of Schaerbeek, a district of Brussels (Belgium), to examine how the technological innovations implemented within the municipality transform the relations between local authorities and their citizens, as well as the internal relations between the different municipal services. Although the respondents were unanimous about the added value of these technological solutions, our analysis shows four clearly recurrent issues : (1) the “functional reduction” associated with technological innovations leaves little room for the complex context of social nuisance; (2) government services are currently flooded by a “tsunami” of communication flows; (3) so-called “innovative” technological solutions often mimic old bureaucratic processes; (4) new communication tools are not equally integrated into all levels of local administration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)594-613
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was conducted with support from Innoviris grant PUL-MOBIL.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


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