Citizen Focus

  • Conference

    Save The Date - 27-28 June 2018

    The 2018 General Assembly of the European Innovation Partnership for Smart Cities & Communities (EIP-SCC) is to be held on the 27th & 28th of June 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria at the Marinela Hotel. 

    More information coming soon!  

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  • Conference

    Urban Future - Global Conference 2018

    The Urban Future global conference is the World’s largest meeting point of City Changers: committed people that actually drive change to make cities more sustainable.

    Attendees include mayors, architects, mobility experts, city planners, scientists, sustainability managers, representatives from Start-Ups, environmentalists, innovation experts and many more.

    For more information please visit

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  • EIP-SCC news

    Citizen Focus: Ambassador Cities Survey

    Published: 16.01.2018
    Marketplace Editorial

    Citizen Focus: Ambassador Cities Survey 


    Following the EIP-SCC Manifesto on Citizen Engagement one-year Anniversary, the ‘Citizen Focus’ Action Cluster relaunched the ‘Inclusive Smart Cities Ambassadors’ initiative.

    The initiative, part of a series of follow-up activities related to the Manifesto, highlighted commonalities and discrepancies in the implementation of citizen-centric measures throughout interviews conducted between May and June 2017. The Manifesto principles were divided into 6 domains and around 10 cities were interviewed in relation to the aforementioned.

    As a result of the obtained scores, the cities of Utrecht, Leeds and Glasgow were appointed Ambassador Cities and, most recently, the city of Utrecht was approached for a follow-up interview to get insights on the city’s achievements and to gather civic engagement best practices to share and replicate across our network.

    In line with the Action Cluster’s commitment to promote citizen engagement, empowerment and participation in order to ameliorate the urban environment, the initiative has been re-launched with the aim of selecting and nominating new Ambassador Cities, to a maximum extent of 10, while reconfirming previously appointed Ambassadors.

    The new online survey aims at gathering relevant information on the Manifesto principles’ implementation and will remain open until early February.

    We encourage you, as city representatives, to join our survey here and become the next Ambassador!

    Additionally, and in case you have not done so yet, we would encourage you to endorse the EIP-SCC Manifesto on Citizen Engagement here to become a promoter of citizen engagement principles.

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  • EIP-SCC news

    Public consultation on EU funds in the area of investment, research & innovation, SMEs and single market

    All citizens, organisations and stakeholders with an interest and/or involvement in issues related to investment, entrepreneurship, research, innovation and SMEs are welcome to respond to this consultation.

    Objective of the consultation 

    In 2018, the European Commission will make comprehensive proposals for the next generation of financial programmes for the post-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework, which is the EU's long–term budget. The European Commission's proposals will be designed to make it possible for the EU to deliver on the things that matter most, in areas where it can achieve more than Member States acting alone. This requires a careful assessment both of what has worked well in the past and what could be improved in the future. This consultation is an integral part of the process and its objective is to collect the views of all interested parties on how to make the most of every euro of the EU budget.

    To find out more please visit


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  • EIP-SCC news

    Interview to the recently nominated Ambassador City of Utrecht

    Citizen Engagement Example

    Further to the selection of the first Ambassador Cities in June 2017, when Utrecht was appointed together with Leeds and Glasgow, the Action Cluster Citizen Focus conducted an interview with Pieter in ’t Hout (Strategist digital innovation) and Haye Folkertsma (IRIS Project coordinator) representatives from the city of Utrecht, to get insights on the city's achievements as well as to gather civic engagement practices to be shared across our network. 

    You can read the full interview reported below.

    Could you provide us with a practical example of citizen engagement in your city? 

    During the drafting of the new poverty policy in Utrecht, two years ago, people in poverty and social workers were interviewed. It became clear that the system to help people in poverty is often counterproductive:

    • It takes an average of 6 to 8 weeks before residents receive a benefit or allowance
    • There are various benefits and allowances with various benefit agencies, in which residents get lost
    • Life events (relocations, cohabitation, fluctuations in income) are often not or not passed on in time, resulting in set-offs
    • These people often do not have a financial buffer, which creates debts
    • There is a taboo on debts whereby people only report to the municipality when the debt has risen to an average of 42,000 - then the government costs €100,000 to get rid of these debts
    • To help these people from the municipality with budget management and debt relief are very expensive and scarce, making the supply scarcer than the demand.

    That is why a pilot with blockchain technology has been started in Utrecht with the aim to help residents with a financial assistance request faster and better in their monthly financial planning process. After permission from the Resident, the Municipality receives the benefits and allowances from public and private organizations on a municipal account and guarantees that the monthly fixed charges for Rent, Energy, Health Insurance and Water can be collected by public parties. Leftovers, at the end of the month, are paid to the resident as living allowance. Even if there is too little income. This is already being tested with 5 residents. We want to do this in a fully automated manner, so that the scarcity of assistance is becoming more abundant and exponentially more people in poverty can be helped.

    At a later stage, we want to add life events to the blockchain, making it possible to immediately recalculate the benefits and benefits without delay.
    In fact, we are building a platform in the blockchain that will make calculations between institutions to provide and collect the benefits and surcharges and the resident.

    As recently awarded lighthouse city within the SCC01 project 'IRIS', could you tell us the role that citizen engagement will play in the project and, in the specific case of your city? How do citizen engagement approaches vary across the other lighthouse cities in the project (Gothenburg, Nice)?

    Citizen engagement is primordial to the project: Utrecht wants to be a socially inclusive city, with citizens in the driver’s seat. Only by means of co-creation with citizens, inclusive, user-driven city infrastructures and services can be achieved. 
    Besides the residents, the residential area involved in Iris is the main target group because the housing blocks owned by housing corporation Bo-ex form the demonstration area. These buildings need to be renovated.  Success of the project depends highly on the way the joined partner organisations are able to satisfy the needs and demands of the target groups. Citizens’ involvement and/or financial benefits for the habitants are crucial success factors. If the project succeed, this triggers a ‘MeToo’-effect (from other citizens in similar housings in consideration). If the first project (the renewal of one apartment building) fails, the next blocks are going to be tough!

    Communication plays a central role in informing and engaging citizens in the demonstration area and informing residents of the development of smart services for these and in future other citizens. What also binds our three Lighthouse cities, namely Utrecht, Nice and Gothenburg, is that we all understand very well that an integrated solution is not integrated if the issues around citizen engagement and citizens’ empowerment are not fully embedded within implementation and evaluation cycles. The three cities all have solid experience and high ambitions regarding community participation empowerment for the development of sustainable business models. They will demonstrate different ways to involve communities in collaborating, co-creating and co-developing solutions, spanning from increasing communication to creating initiatives bonding smart city actors together - at the level of individual, home, demonstration district, and city as whole.

     Design and demonstration of feedback mechanisms and inclusive services for citizens to achieve that they are intrinsically motivated to (i) save energy, (ii) shift their energy consumption to periods with redundant renewables, (iii) use electric vehicles and (iv) change the vehicle ownership culture towards a use or common mobility assets culture. Demonstrated solutions include game-theory based engagement methods and instruments ranging from co-creating infotainment apps, local school campaigns, offering training on the job to students living in the district by partaking in the demo activities, competitive energy games using the home energy management system, energy ambassadors creating local energy communities, to crowd-funding creating a sense of being part of the solution.


    As EIP-SCC Marketplace Ambassador City, what is your message to other European cities aiming at reinforcing citizen engagement? 
    Citizen engagement is the key to creating successful solutions in your city. Actively engage citizens from the start of initiatives. All cities are of course unique, but smart city’s work together exchange insights and replicate, where possible. 

    While thanking Utrecht for sharing its experience and knowledge with the EIP-SCC Marketplace, the Action Cluster would also remind that he ‘Ambassador Cities’ initiative was recently relaunched. The purpose is to harvest and share good practices in citizen engagement by selecting additional cities amongst the most advanced ones in relation to the six areas of intervention urged by the Manifesto on Citizen Engagement. To this end, an online survey was launched on 27 November that will remain open until February 2018. Results of the survey will support the identification of additional Ambassadors.

    The Citizen Focus Action Cluster, committed to promoting the empowerment, participation and engagement of citizens, is seeking to select and appoint new Ambassador Cities, while reconfirming previously appointed Ambassadors. 

    Follow the link here to join the survey and become the next Ambassador City! 

    For additional questions, contact us at

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In a time of urban transformation and digitalisation of smart cities, too little attention is sometime given to citizens. Citizen Focus Action Cluster strongly believes in citizens as fundamental actors for the regeneration and development of smart cities. Civic engagement, empowerment, participation and co-creation are at the basis of our advocacy approach since we acknowledge that citizen voice can be pivotal in providing the demand-side pressure on government, service providers and organisations needed to encourage full response to citizen needs. It also ensures the setup of a trusted and sound relationship with local governments and a source of democratic legitimacy and transparency. In the context of smarter cities, citizens understanding of concrete problems and challenges can help local governments prioritise and respond consistently to inhabitants’ need.  

Central to the Citizen Focus approach are: 

  • Civic engagement, empowerment and participation 
  • Inclusion of citizens and disadvantaged communities 
  • The power of people to transform places and outcomes (smart housing, smart urban solutions, participatory budgeting, and crowdsourcing) 
  • Civic Leadership - benefiting from citizen engagement actions to deliver solutions
  • Social Housing and transition to low carbon communities 
  • Learning and sharing from the world-wide frontrunners in citizen engagement 

Since 2014, Citizen Focus has been actively engaged in the EU arena, promoting and participating to mutual learning and networking efforts with key stakeholders and EU and national policy-makers. Main collective achievements to date:

- Inclusive Smart Cities: a European Manifesto on Citizen Engagement - endorsed by more than 120 public and private sectors representatives. Click here to endorse! 

- Preliminary analysis of citizen engagement measures implemented in selected Ambassador Cities - on-going   

- Webinar on Participatory Budgeting 

Our ongoing initiatives 

CitizenCity achievements to date: 

Citizen Centric Approach to Data achievements to date: 

  • Webinars were organised in April 2016 and in May 2016
  • Presentations were made during the Eindhoven General Assembly in May 2016
  • A workshop was organised by ERRIN in September 2016


Get in contact with the Citizen Focus Action Cluster at or with the AC Manager



Latest News

Citizen Focus: Ambassador Cities Survey

Published: 16.01.2018

Citizen Focus: Ambas.

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