Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have become important tools to promote an achieve a variety of public goals and policies. The growing importance of ICT in daily life, business activities and governance prompts the need to consider the role of ICT more explicitly in urban administrations and policies. What are the city-makers' expectations of ICT? And how do they assess the future implications of ICT for their city? An analysis of these questions is needed to provide us with a better understanding of the extent to which urban authorities are willing to invest in, and to adopt, ICT policy. This paper offers both a conceptual and an operational model that aims to map out the causes and implications of ICT perceptions and views of urban policy-makers and/or administrative officials (denoted as urban front-liners). This is followed by the presentation of an operational path model-i.e. a linear structural equations model (Lisrel). The model serves to describe and test the relationships between perceptions of the city, policy-makers' beliefs about ICT and the associated urban ICT policy. According to the model, respondents who perceive their city as having many urban functions (such as commercial centre, service centre, higher education centre) have more awareness of various ICT tools and are likely to consider a multiplicity of ICT measures as relevant to their city. Respondents who consider their city as having severe bottlenecks (such as traffic congestion, housing shortage) are less likely to think of ICT measures and ICT-related goals as relevant to their city, and nor do they think that the municipality impacts significantly on ICT in the city. Furthermore, respondents who perceive their city as suffering from many socioeconomic problems (unemployment, ageing population, industrial decline and so on) are likely to consider many ICT tools as relevant to their city, although they have a low awareness of the specific tools to be deployed. Finally, respondents who believe that ICT will significantly (and positively) affect the city and its administration also tend to believe that the municipality has a high municipal influence on ICT and consider many ICT initiatives as relevant to their city. © 2004 The Editors of Urban Studies.
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