Glossary of Terms

This glossary includes terms that are either newly introduced, uncommon or specialized. It contains explanations of concepts relevant to collaborative design for smart city initiatives.


Collaborative Design

To create, fashion, execute or construct systems of collaboration according to plan; to devise for a specific function or end. A task performed across a dispersed group of partners with a joint objective. This new concept is understood and applied differently across occupations, disciplines and organizations.

Diffuse Reciprocity

In situations characterized by diffuse reciprocity, there is an expectation that there will not be an equivalence of obligations in any one exchange, but, rather, a balance is expected over an ongoing, potentially indefinite, series of exchanges with a group of partners.

Place Identity

Refers to a cluster of ideas about place and identity in various fields, including geography, urban planning, urban design, landscape architecture and urban sociology. Sometimes called urban character, neighborhood character or local character, place identity has become a key issue in the last 25 years in urban planning and design.


A multi-faceted approach to planning, designing and managing public spaces. As both a process and philosophy, placemaking capitalizes on a local community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote health, happiness and well being. It is political due to the nature of place identity.