A European platform to give smart cities a boost

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European partners are exchanging experiences to get their smart cities projects off the ground

In a Europe with urbanisation on the rise, smart cities are becoming the focus of some important policies. Yet smart cities cannot develop alone and cannot reinvent the wheel every time. As proven by the wealth of successful European projects in a number of different areas, exchange of experience and implementation programmes are a powerful boost to improving any given matter, and smart cities are involved in this process.

The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities is an initiative well under way from The European Commission which seeks to create the right conditions for making cities better places to live and do business in, as well as reducing energy use, carbon emissions and congestion.

"Strategic partnerships" between industry and European cities

In the framework of this partnership, in 2014, 370 commitments around smart city projects and solutions were submitted by more than 3,000 partners from 31 countries, according to data from the European Commission. These range from public authorities, academic and research institutions, businesses NGOs and even private individuals. It ultimately looks to establish strategic partnerships between industry and European cities to develop the urban systems and infrastructures of tomorrow.

Cities and businesses, in the framework of this initiative, commit themselves to implement actions in a number of areas, including:

  • Urban Mobility
  • Open Data
  • Business Models
  • Finance and Procurement
  • Policy and Regulation
  • Metrics and Performance Indicators
  • Integrated Energy
  • Transport and Communication Networks
  • Energy Efficiency and Low Carbon Solutions

After choosing their area of implementation, they will find their partners in an online marketplace. This is “a website which will host all the different commitments and provides information on the six action clusters. It allows you to locate an area of urban mobility and geographical locations, so it is easy to see if there is any commitment from a particular region. It’s a tool that will help companies and cities to learn from each other,” says Axel Volkery, the policy officer responsible for the EIP from DG MOVE at the European Commission.
He also says that this partnership is also a solution to the fact that the smart city market in Europe is quite fragmented at the moment, although there are plenty of companies that have the capacity to bring innovation to cities.

Ultimately, the EIP on smart cities and communities aims at making smart cities a very common occurrence in Europe, while solving some of the downfalls that come with massive urbanisation.

  • A full interview with Axel Volkery is available in Issue 3/2014 of PTI Magazine available on MOBI+
  • To learn more or to get involved, go to http://ec.europa.eu/eip/smartcities/
  • For more information contact editor(at)uitp.org

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