With reference to the field of planning support science, our understanding of the influence of contextual factors on planning-orientated smart governance initiatives must be improved. An extensive literature review revealed that minimal attention has been paid to the influence of contextual factors. This lack of attention prompted the focus of this research, which empirically investigated the influence of the political context on smart city initiatives in Glasgow (Scotland, UK), Utrecht (Netherlands) and Curitiba (Brazil). In general, we conclude that political contextual factors play a role in influencing smart governance initiatives. Process-wise (roles of governments, non-state actors and technologies), the political context strongly shapes smart-governance initiatives. The research also revealed how unpredictable the role of citizens is in the light of the political context. Content-wise (societal outcomes), it is still unknown how these differences in contextual factors will lead to distinctive societal outcomes. For that, we will need a longer research timespan.