Smart city (SC) research is an engaging research area as evidenced by a rising number of publications indexed in the most relevant global citation databases. However, research advances are not equally discussed and distributed within Europe. This study puts a focus on the specific geographic location of Southeast Europe (SEE), intending to fill the gap in understanding the research advances in this part of Europe. The aim of this descriptive review was to systematically investigate peer-reviewed publications focused on SC research in SEE in order to present the findings and the state-of-art in this research domain. Seventy-four papers were thoroughly studied, analysed and classified based on their focus on SC themes and common sub-themes. While smart governance had been studied extensively in the SEE region, topics related to the smart economy and smart people received low
attention from researchers. Mapping the selected papers to the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle showed that SC research in SEE is still in the conceptualising and planning stages, with very little evidence from the real implementation and follow-up activities. From the stakeholders’ perspective, the focus is on the institutional point of view as most of the papers present their findings in relation to (national or local) government bodies or policies, without balancing with corresponding businesses’ or individuals’ (users’) point of view. In general, user involvement was found to be very low in regards to current SC research in the SEE region.