European cities to involve ‘smart citizens’ in digital technology trial projects

  • environment
  • knowledge society

Drawing on €25 million in EU funding, six major European cities have teamed up with EUROCITIES to design and implement a series of new pilot projects to demonstrate how innovative uses of digital technology can improve urban environments and the lives of their residents.

Under the European Commission’s Smart Cities and Communities large-scale demonstration (‘lighthouse’) programme, London, Lisbon and Milan will seek to design and implement ground-breaking technology-based services and initiatives to benefit their inhabitants and eventually to be adopted by other interested cities and communities. Bordeaux, Burgas and Warsaw will be ‘follower cities’ collecting experience.

The 35 project partners met in Brussels today to formally launch the project, called ‘Sharing Cities’. The five year project will aim to address and engage ‘smart citizens’ and make the most of their input.

The six cities’ experts in the fields of information and communication technology, energy supply and management and transport will pool their talents to initiate integrated projects, devise business models and define mechanisms of cooperation that could be adopted and rolled out across Europe once they prove to be successful. The ultimate aim of the project participants is to bring on board over a hundred cities, trigger €500 million in investment and generate hundreds of new jobs.

Examples for projects to be implemented include: the promotion of electric vehicles and bikes, renewable energy generation for households, installation of ‘smart lampposts’ that double as wifi access points, or retrofitting social and private homes.

EUROCITIES, the network that brings together over 130 of Europe’s large cities, will play a leading role in sharing experiences and best practices via its expert forums and working groups.

Anna Lisa Boni, EUROCITIES secretary general, commented that:

“We are very enthusiastic about this innovative project because it puts citizens at the heart of developing smarter cities. Not only will it seek to integrate technological development into their daily lives but it will also engage and empower them. We look forward to sharing this experience with many cities across our network".

‘Sharing Cities’ will also involve academic and industry partners (such as Danfoss and Siemens), who will work together with the six cities to design and deliver the planned solutions and technologies.

EUROCITIES staff contact

Nathalie Guri