The goal of the paper is to investigate the expected participation and mentality of smart citizens in smart cities. The key question is the role of the human factor in smart environments globally studied through a research corpus of the mainstream summaries, trend reports, white papers and visions of business – governmental – university research co- operations. Foremost, a short review of the changing scholarly trends is presented as a theoretical framework. Concerning its key ideas, the corpus based findings are recapped and analysed by content networks and the most referred city strategies. Besides, a critical approach reveal further required factors and risks to investigate. The ultimate goal is to understand how the smart city landscape is shaped by citizen-based strategies, open data, empowerment and responsibility. Accordingly, the paper closes with theoretical, practical and metaphor-based recommendations to support the business and political decision making, and also, the emerging scholarly trends in the context of upcoming technological-structural changes.